Two months before Cincinnati’s Sept. 13 primary election for major, crime has become the major issue, sas the Cincinnati Enquirer. Former Councilman Charlie Winburn wants a new jail, expanding the county’s capacity by perhaps 800 inmates. State Sen. Mark L. Mallory called for establishment of a new cabinet post to oversee public safety and homeland security. David Pepper attacked Mallory’s record, saying his votes against enhanced penalties for aggravated murder, shooting a gun near a school, and making methamphetamine were “the wrong record for Cincinnati.” Vice Mayor Alicia Reece defended an aide who was shot in the foot against charges that he was not cooperating with police, saying the real issue is getting guns off the streets.
The four major candidates took off the gloves for what’s likely to be a spirited debate on violent crime in Cincinnati – its root causes, its immediate solutions, and the best ways to prevent it. Mallory’s six-point crime plan emphasizes prevention. He wants to create a “boot camp” for young offenders, vigorously enforce truancy laws and emphasize summer jobs to keep idle youths off the streets. Winburn derided those proposals as “a baby-sitting program.” Mallory’s main idea is restoration of the safety director’s position, eliminated by Mayor Charlie Luken in 2001. Reece and Pepper, who voted to eliminate the position, said adding bureaucracy won’t solve the crime problem.