Crime: Proactivity, Fairness & Logic
“When I cast my vote as a council person, I have basic principles I won’t compromise. What is being proposed must be responsive to citizens, applied fairly, and effective. Further, the process used to bring about a new policy must be transparent.”
When I cast my vote as a council person, I have basic principles I won’t compromise. What is being proposed must be responsive to citizens, applied fairly, and effective. Further, the process used to bring about a new policy must be transparent.
The Review board policy I voted against endorsing this week didn’t meet those tests.
Earlier this year, the mayor held public hearings on her proposal to create this board with an ordinance. The business community and citizens opposed it and the mayor promised to recraft the ordinance and give all parties concerned a chance for additional input. She didn’t keep those promises.
Instead, just 26 hours before a Christmas board meeting, the mayor simply rolled out her earlier proposal as a “policy” and asked the Council to endorse it. No notice was given to the public, and businesses had little time to organize a response. The same problems that existed with the mayor’s earlier plan are still there.
- The mayor’s policy is reactive and not proactive, creating a board which provides owners of bars and restaurants with advice only after a violent incident occurs.
- The policy threatens business owners with having their establishments declared a “public nuisance” and bringing the weight of state and local agencies to bear if they do not voluntarily accept the board’s recommendations.
- Once more the policy unfairly focuses on bars and restaurants, when violent crime statistics show they are not at the heart of the wave of violent crime in Greensboro.
- City facilities are unfairly exempted from these policies.
- We have the ability to utilize city staff to work proactively with businesses to develop security plans. This was my preference and proposal and the mayor disagreed.
After 283 homicides, 27,607 assaults, and 4,038 robberies in Greensboro over the last 8 years and the city being ranked as the 8th most violent in America by US News & World Report, it is understandable some would endorse any proposal which appeared to address violent crime in the city. But knee jerk reactions and ill-conceived plans are not substitutes for long term strategies addressing the reality of violent crime in the city and its root causes.
As a city we can, and should, be proactive in dealing with crime. I remain open to reasonable solutions that work with the business community. But voting in favor of a policy that punishes small business owners is something I could not do. I know Greensboro can be and can do better, and that’s why I voted no Tuesday night.
For Our Future,