Heidi Samuel for Columbus Neighborhoods
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election 2007
Council candidates: Is Columbus safe enough?
Sunday,  October 14, 2007 4:06 AM

Here are responses to questions about public safety from the 10 candidates for Columbus City Council. (The mayoral candidates' responses appear on Page G1.) Eight candidates are competing for four full terms on the City Council. Two others are running head-to-head to finish a term won in 2005 by Mary Jo Hudson, who left for a state job.
Is Columbus getting safer or becoming more dangerous?

Public safety consumes 70 percent of the city budget. Should that level of spending for police and fire services be protected, even by cutting other programs or raising taxes?
Should Columbus add police officers at a faster pace than it has (116 officers) since 2000?

Beyond adding police, what ideas do you have for fighting crime?
For one, two-year partial term

Heidi Samuel (R)
Of the two choices, Columbus is becoming more dangerous. Police commanders say we are "holding the line" on the worst offenses but losing ground in proactive patrolling and enforcement. Neighborhood leaders and residents indicate growing concern about crime and vandalism in their neighborhoods that they've never seen before. You be the judge.
How much we spend isn't a measure of meeting citizens' safety expectations. I oppose raising taxes but support tough fiscal decisions and dedicating specific funding sources to public safety and code enforcement. To start, I recommend EMS billing and estate-tax revenues be dedicated to public safety.

According to commanders and sergeants, we need 403 more officers on the street. In adding 14 new officers per year (116 over eight years), there are less officers per resident on our streets today than in 2000. These numbers confirm we aren't keeping pace with population growth or demand for service.

I want online, user-friendly, real-time crime reporting provided to the public similar to San Jose, Calif., and better incident reporting technology for officers; strongly enforce community-service penalties for vandals; and more sophisticated linking and communication between neighborhood block watches, precinct officers and code enforcement officers.

[Read the answers of all 10 candidates on www.dispatch.com)

Copyright © 2007, The Columbus Dispatch



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