Mayor: Beltline will be safe

Mayor Kasim Reed on Friday said he doesn’t think crime on the Beltline is out of control, but it is important that the public doesn’t view one of the city’s prime assets as dangerous.

So Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner formally introduced the Path Force Unit that will give Atlanta Beltline its own 15-officer police force.

The APD unit — funded by a $1.8 million federal grant — actually has been patrolling for the last month on the biking and pedestrian trail. The unit will replace other officers who have been assigned there to calm citizen fears after several high-profile crimes near the Beltline.

“Atlanta Beltline is going to be safe,” Reed said. “We are going to do what ever we can in my administration to make it safe and keep it safe.”

The Beltline — a planned 22-mile loop of bicycle and pedestrian trails, parks and a hoped-for streetcar — is a priority development for the city.

Reed said they rolled out the task force a year early because use of the Beltline’s trails spiked with the opening of the Eastside trail late last year.

He thinks the additional officers will serve as a deterrent and will give APD the capability it needs to solve any crimes committed there.

“If you commit a crime on the Atlanta Beltline you have a heightened chance of getting arrested,” Reed said.