From listening to people all over the city, crime is a major source of stress right now – in spite of statistics reported by the media and police department.
My approach to City Council solutions is multi-faceted. The number one way to almost eliminate crime is to eliminate poverty. The “easy” way to do this would be to radically change our capitalistic society. While the Rochester City Council will never be able to achieve that, we can work to make the economic conditions better for those who are in need. We can reduce crime by:
*Providing more training and resources to create co-operative businesses.
*Focus these co-operative businesses on areas of need in our communities: food, clothing, shelter, day care, health care, etc.
*Advocate for a city government concept of housing as a right.
*Advocate at the state and federal levels for single-payer health care that includes mental health.
*More detox and rehab beds for people with addiction.
*Going to a model of restorative justice instead of the punitive system we have now. This includes a new police contract that insists on a more focused approach on mental health as opposed to the current military model we have now. This also includes money for mental health counselors who would reply to 911 calls on a more regular basis.
*Decriminalize marijuana as we advocate for increased funding from state and federal governments for drug treatment. If marijuana is legalized at the state level in 2019, then we should move to release people already in jail for marijuana “offenses” only.
We cannot solve crime with more police. It doesn’t work. First of all, the more police in an area, the more crime that will be "found." Also, desperate people will do desperate things. That is why the death penalty is not a deterrent. The only way to reduce crime at its core is to attack it from mental health and poverty angles.