Mayoral candidates address crime and safety during recent forum

Eight candidates fielded questions from concerened citizens during Tuesday night’s event.
WSMV4's Danielle Jackson reports.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 11:15 PM CDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 9:00 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tennessee Voice for Victims shared the voices of eight Nashville Mayoral candidates on Tuesday evening inside of Clementine Hall in West Nashville.

The forum topic was centered around crime and safety in Nashville.

“Disappointing, resilient, inconsistent, fragile, lacking, diminishing, unsupported and anxious” were all word the candidates used after they were asked to use a word to describe the feeling of safety in the Music City.

The two co-founders of Tennessee Voices of Victims lead the forum by asking questions from victims of various crimes in Nashville. Tackling crime and safety were the key topics during Tuesday night’s forum.

Candidates shared their plans on how to create a safer city, domestic violence, victims’ rights and the necessary resources needed to fight theses issues.

Eight candidates answered questions written by victims of crime. Their first question addressed their plans to keep people safe.

“With smart policing, I think it’s important that we make sure we’re taking advantage of lighting and traffic light technology to make citizens safer,” Heidi Campbell said.

“Victims want most to be sure that no one else is victimized and today in Nashville we have too many people waiting to become a victim of crime,” Alice Rolli said.

“I’ve worked with victims over the last nine years to strengthen domestic violence to make sure that there’s a longer hold period so that victims can find their way to safe housing before someone is released,” Jeff Yarbro said.

Law enforcement responds to crime in the city and victims wanted to know how these candidates planned to support Metro Police.

“We want them to have the mental health and the breaks that they need for their safety but also they can perform at peak performance to make sure they are keeping us safe,” Matt Wiltshire said.

“The mayor you elect right now to preside over will have one of the most significant public safety elements to it. So, I think we are setting ourselves up for a strong future and we need to make sure that works well with communities across Nashville,” Freddie O’Connell said.

Eight candidates fielded questions from concerned citizens during Tuesday night’s event.

In addition to addressing various ways to safety, candidates address victim’s rights and ways to reduce juvenile crime.

“We have to invest into the educational system to make sure we start at the very beginning. When students are in school that is exactly what we want to do, we want to get them while we have their attention,” Vivian Wilhoite said.

“I will develop a comprehensive five-year plan together with our superintendent on how to improve the outcomes in our schools and I’ll fund that plan,” Jim Gingrich said.

“If they don’t know how to read then that’s when they start in that line of pipeline to prison. We will change that with literacy and put them in a pipeline to prosperity,” Sharon Hurt said.

The candidates were also asked to share one adjective to describe how they would use their potential role to create a safer Nashville.

“Priority, accountable, leader, achievable, responsible, required, priority, committed,” said the candidates one by one.

Early voting starts July 14 and general election voting day is Aug. 3.