ATLANTA — In our one-on-one interview with Martin Luther King III, he told us his father, civil rights legend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, is still teaching us lessons.
“He talked about the evil of poverty, the evil of racism, and the evil of violence. And this falls right in that area — the crime,” said King.
But he says solving the crime problem in Atlanta, the city he still calls home, will require new ideas.
“There is a way to do it, but I think it takes the religious community, religious leaders. I think it takes the business leaders. I think it takes political leaders and community leaders — all of those components coming together and saying ‘we’re going to work to eradicate crime,’” said King.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ Anti-Violence Advisory Council met for the first time this week to begin discussing ideas.
Martin Luther King III told us it all starts with the police. He wants to see more police on the streets while also re-imagining how they do their jobs.
“You’ve got to have a police officer or officers come from the community that they’re policing,” said King.
He also called for giving civilian boards that oversee the police more authority, putting more power in the hands of the people.
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“Civilian oversight may have subpoena power and the opportunity to hire and fire,” said King.
But he also told us he’s a bit perplexed about why crime in Atlanta is going up while the unemployment rate is going down.
“There are jobs that are available, so crime in theory should be going down, but we’re missing the mark somewhere,” said King.
One member of the mayor’s crime panel told us this week that he believes gangs are behind the rise in crime.
Whatever the cause of the problem, Martin Luther King III believes Atlantans will find a way to solve it.
“All of us have a vested interest in creating the best community,” said King.
Cox Media Group