LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Violence. Jobs. Endurance: These were the main topics Mayor Frank Scott Jr. discussed as he sat down with THV11 for the first time since his announcement of reelection.
"I never expected that we would lead... endure through... When you think about it... historic snow storm, historic flood, a global pandemic no one has seen since 1918," said Mayor Scott as he reflected over the last 3 years.
Scott's historic term as the first elected Black mayor for Little Rock didn't come without hardships.
Mayor Scott promised to unite the city, improve public safety, and revitalize underserved communities.
During his term we saw civil protests ensue in the summer of 2020 after the death of George Floyd, with the unrest hitting Arkansas' capital city.
Little Rock then began seeing increases in violent crime with 2021 being the second-highest year on record for murders.
"As being a mayor of the city, but also a son of the city that actually lives in neighborhoods where most of the crime happens, believe me I know what's going on," said Mayor Scott. "It's unacceptable for any resident whether it's in College Station or Chenal Valley. If you experience violent crime, property crime, or breaking and entering. We know it's unacceptable."
Little Rock has had 17 murders so far this year, which is a 31% increase from this time last year as our violent crime rate is also up 10%.
In regards to homicides in the city and the feeling of insecurity among citizens, we asked Mayor Scott the following question:
"When I talk to people and they say they feel unsafe or they see how many homicides we have, what is your response as the leader to those people who say they don't feel safe?"
Mayor Scott acknowledged the importance of transparency as a leader and responded to the question as he said:
"Sure, when crime happens at your home of course you are not going to feel safe. It's my job not only to address the perception of crime but the reality of it."
Mayor Scott is working to address the crime surge that's now approaching two years.
That effort includes dedicating nearly $2-million for crime prevention, using proactive policing in areas where crime is higher, and ramping up police recruiting efforts through pay raises and sign-on bonuses.
Since he took office, thousands of new jobs have come to the capital city with the introduction of new Amazon facility, Trader Joe's, Costco, and Synthesia, an international company that made Little Rock's port its first U.S. location.
"The reason why people are locating to Little Rock is because of our people, because of our workforce, but also because we have some great assets here in Little Rock. We are in the center of the south," said Mayor Scott.
When asked about the decision to run for a second term as mayor, Scott said there was never any doubt about running again.
As far as his political aspirations, Scott said the only job he wants is to be mayor of Little Rock.