Mayoral candidate Sharon Gay discusses crime, her hope for the city's future

Sharon Gay said the city cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result when it comes to fighting crime.

Gay is one of five major candidates hoping to replace Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

"Things are different now," she said. "We need a different strategy."

Gay, an attorney, said over the four decades that she has lived in the city, there have been years when crime statistics may have been higher. But, she said, she cannot recall any time when the anxiety so many people feel has been higher. 

"A resident of midtown was walking his dog at 10 o'clock at night and got robbed," Gay recalled. "He not only took the man's wallet but took his dog. Who does that?"

As mayor, Gay would put more officers on the street. She said the city must deploy new strategies on recruitment -- like signing bonuses. 

She would conduct a nationwide search for a new chief to replace Rodney Bryant.

When asked who runs the police force, a chief or a mayor, she said the chief's job is to manage the department.

But Gay said her chief would get help. Inside her City Hall, she would assign a high-level cabinet official to work closely with the top commander. An example she pointed to would be how City Hall might tackle issues that impact crime. For one, she cited how too many distressed properties linger in various neighborhoods. 

Criminals can use those abandoned properties as a base for their activities. While Gay may be an unfamiliar name, she has already gained the support of a high profiled police professional -- Dr. Cedric Alexander, who used to lead the DeKalb County public safety effort.

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