Crime is at the top of list for many Meridian residents. And some brought their concerns to a mayoral forum at The Gathering Place.
With the recent vandalism and break-in at Meridian High School and the home invasion on Poplar Springs Drive, residents want to know what these candidates plan to do to fight it.
All four democratic candidates were present. Republican candidate Cheri Barry had a prior engagement and could not attend. All candidates agree that crime has to dealt with on all sides of town.
"We want to set standards over this whole city that's what's done in one area we pay close attention to and deal with on the other side. What happens in East End, West End, Poplar Springs, wherever in this time, we treat it all the same," Bland said.
Bill Compton has built his campaign around bringing a casino to Meridian and he says that will help fight crime.
""We need to increase our police department and the number of police officers we have and we need to increase our budget. And that would be jobs, through casino gambling, we can increase our police department," Compton said.
Joe Norwood says you can put a police officer on every corner in Meridian, but you will still have crime. But Norwood says he would put together a task force to fight it.
"I looked out my window and saw 19 young black men lying on the ground, sitting on the ground being questioned by the police, but that didn't make your news. But the Poplar Springs Drive crime did. So there's a lot more crime going on than all of us are aware," Norwood said.
Casandra Sloan says crime has been an issue for quite some time, but it's just now making its way into other areas of the city.
"I would work with the chief of police to ensure that first of all, we have enough police officers to provide the protection that the citizens deserve," Sloan said.
Via telephone, Cheri Barry said she also agrees that crime should be addressed in all areas of the city. Barry says she will have a zero tolerance for any type of crime and says she will work to strengthen the police force and presence in the community.
The Young Professionals of Meridian will sponsor a Meet the Candidates Forum Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn at 5:15 p.m.
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