Mayoral forum addresses crime prevention in Columbus

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Candidates in the mayoral race met with the public to answer any questions during a forum at Canaan Baptist Church in Columbus.

One of the heavy topics Wednesday was how each candidate would tackle the issue of crime in Columbus community.

"Our children do not have the necessary resources within walking distance to keep them engaged in constructive activities, therefore a lot of time is left to the streets. We have to stop the misspending and the mismanagement that we currently have and put to ensure that we're providing effective services and programs for our youth," says candidate Zeph Baker.

"My idea is to leverage our partners in the community. Go into the neighborhoods, use the faith-based organizations' knowledge of the neighborhoods, and to go in there and start mentoring the kids. Give them more positive after-school opportunities." says candidate Skip Henderson.

"I don't want an exhausted police officer on the street. We have got to take care of our protectors or they can't protect us. If we're not protected, nothing else matters if everyone is walking around scared all of the time," explained candidate Beth Harris.

"To prevent crime, you got to identify the crime first. Like I said there's a lot of gang activity throughout Columbus. Instead of giving grants to Boys and Girls Clubs, which are good to give to, we need to give grants to organizations that are definitely trying to fight crime. We need a good mix," says candidate Charles Roberts.

"I believe it starts at home. We're so rich in mentoring programs here in town and unfortunately, nobody knows about them. We have to keep kids off the street so they're not ending up in the Youth Detention Center. That's the biggest problem, and we have to keep good officers on the streets," explained candidate Danny Arencibia.

Some of the other topics discussed where employment rates in Columbus and what would be accomplished during the first 90 days in office.

Representatives say it's one of the only times all six candidates made an appearance to address the public. Those in the audience were able to offer comments on the statements.

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