CINCINNATI — As Cincinnati nears an election that will decide who is next to lead the Queen City, homicides and other violent crime continue to rise — a topic that certainly came up during a Tuesday night candidate forum.
"The status quo is not working," said Aftab Pureval, current Hamilton County clerk of courts and mayoral candidate. "Of course we need to support our law enforcement, but the bottom line is so much of the economic development in the CBD and West End, instead of lifting people up out of poverty, have just pushed them further west."
Pureval said, if elected, he plans to focus on tackling the violence by focusing on poverty and bringing needed resources to communities.
David Mann, current city council member and mayoral candidate, said his aim will focus more on embedding mental health resources within the police force while addressing staffing shortages withing the Cincinnati Police Department. Mann said he also believes continued investment in affordable housing is key to stemming the spike in youth violence the city's seen recently.
"Three of the districts have social workers assigned and available to respond with police officers," Mann said. "Three recruit classes were funded, are being funded, in this year's budget."
Last year was Cincinnati's deadliest year in recent history, with 82 homicides over the span of the year. So far, 2021 is still on pace to match that, with 70 homicides to date.
Pureval said currently it's been easier for children in Cincinnati to pick up a gun than to pursue a job elsewhere, because options available to them are so limited. He vowed to provide more opportunities for apprenticeships with labor unions to provide a safer path forward for Cincinnati's youth.
Early voting is already happening and continues over the next three weeks leading up to election day on Nov. 2.