COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - After 20 years on city council, Mayor-elect Skip Henderson is preparing to be sworn in as the mayor of Columbus in January.
As he continues the transition process, one area Henderson is looking at is ways to reduce crime in Columbus.
“If all we do is focus on hiring more police, then all we need to focus on is building more jails because police are awesome at what they do. But, they are law enforcement,” said Henderson.
The mayor-elect said he has spoken with Police Chief Ricky Boren to further understand the issues surrounding crime in the city.
“If you talk to our police chief, he will tell you that about 40 percent of our homicides are domestic related. I don’t care if you have 15 officers in that front yard, you aren’t going to stop that from happening,” said Henderson. “Another 20 to 30 percent know each other. They are drug dealers. So, they will invite a guy, ‘hey lets go riding around’ and they will get him in the backseat and shoot him in the head and take the drugs. A cop on every corner isn’t going to stop that.”
Henderson said that in the uptown area, there have been two murders that happened when a police officer was less than 100 feet away.
The mayor-elect said he wants to take a more holistic approach to the issue and focus in on area youth.
“We are talking about the Summer Youth Workforce Act that is currently in place,” said Henderson. “Those dollars are typically going outside the county to poorer counties and to an older demographic. What I would like to do is try to find some people who are willing to jump in from a philanthropic perspective because it checks all the boxes. If we can find jobs for these young people to try to keep them focused on positive events, then it’s going to have a positive impact not only on crime, but some of the generational poverty that we’ve seen over the years.”
Henderson says he also wants to look at the compression issues that has been created over the year while raising new officer pay. He hopes to find ways to retain more senior officers on the force.