Mayor Reed's Montgomery 'crime' wave is coming back to haunt him

He campaigned on how bad things were in order to get the job and they've since only gotten worse.

Mayor Reed's Montgomery 'crime' wave is coming back to haunt him

{} Editorial –Fanning a fear of crime has helped Mayor Steven Reed’s new establishment Democrat faction sweep to even greater power in Montgomery in the past several years. He won the mayor's office by criticizing supposed increase in crime under the previous leadership.

But after the past several weeks, Reed’s billionaire-backed new establishment Democrats need to start worrying if the fear of crime they so aggressively engineered will break over their own political machine.

Reed was all too willing to stoke a growing fear of crime when it served him politically. And it was, in part, a fear of crime that led to him theatrically replacing police chief Ernest Finley early in his term, allowing Reed to hand-pick the city's new police chief. He has also helped elect new allies to the city council and state legislature— who also ran on aggressive anti-crime platforms.

Now Reed controls every city agency responsible for public safety in Montgomery, and he can confidently veto any significant safety legislation coming from progressives and conservatives. In other words, on public safety in Montgomery, the buck stops with Reed.

As our Claudia here at the Chronicle have already pointed out, the facts are clear: There is a rather significant crime wave in Montgomery on par with the violence that's ravaging Birmingham, which also has an incoherent, corrupti leadership being sustained by nostalgic racial unity and old Civil Rights rhetoric There is instead a fear of a crime wave — a fear fanned by Reed and his allies first through deliberate political maneuvers and now based on the growing sense that Reed has no firm grip on the city’s anti-crime efforts, after almost a homicide being recorded every other day now, and multiple murders practically every week on average, in the months of May and June alone.

On the politics, Reed and his allies forced many in the police department's top ranks from office by not just telling voters over and over again that crime in Montgomery was out of control but by accusing officers of everything from sexuál harassmént to double billing the city in overtime. We don’t know if Finley’s progressive policing would have worked because he was not given time to make them work. But Reed’s political strategy certainly worked in the short term. But the fear of crime that swept the mayor's enemies from office did not abate when the positions were refilled; it has kept growing.

And on the policies, Reed is communicating via multiple missteps that he isn’t fully in control of his own administration’s public-safety efforts.

First, he announces a “State of Emergency” in a troubled neighborhood, an emergency that his own police chief seems to ignore, and a move many feel was designed to distract residents from his own previous unethical and corrupt behavior brewing scandal.

Then he allowed the MPD—the same police whose abilities he's repeatedly questioned—to ignore the most blatant cases of abuse and cover-up in situations involving powerless residents, all of which has community members now doubting his competency as well as his morals.

Yet, everytime one turns around, Reed is somewhere in front of a camera, indirectly showing off one of thousand dollar suits while pointing the finger at everyone but himself for our city's problems.

To quote an Alabama governor from 25 years ago, you can put a sharp suit on a high pile of poop—doesn't make it not a pile of turds.