LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Little Rock's mayoral candidates met for the first time on Thursday to talk about why they want the job and the visions they have for the city.
The candidates met at the Little Rock Realtors Association's August meeting held at Pleasant Valley Country Club.
Candidates, Mayor Frank Scott, Greg Henderson, and Steve Landers all agreed that Little Rock's crime rate has become too high.
Crime is something that they're all focused on as the city's mayoral race begins to heat up.
Little Rock has had 52 homicides so far this year, and Mayor Scott believes that his ongoing plans could help keep those numbers from rising.
"We've leveraged our federal dollars, putting close to $3 million in holistic programs and mental health and social programs to address the very issue, because the issue is our youth and young adults and ensuring that they have something to do," Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said.
Meanwhile, Steve Landers said that he wants more officers hired.
"We just cannot run this city on the amount of policemen patrolling we have now. I have people come up to me every day to [say they] call 911 5 times and they didn't answer the phone," Steve Landers said.
Greg Henderson agreed with Landers' statement and said that police involvement at neighborhood meetings does make a difference.
"Trying to identify problems that we see in the community around with our neighbors that are happening that haven't escalated the point of violence and haven't escalated to the point of a crime," Greg Henderson said.
The candidates also shared why their different backgrounds could help them in the role of Little Rock mayor in the following statements:
"I'm the only person that lives in the most crime-ridden area in the city born raised to reside in South West Little Rock. I'm the only person that probably has experienced homicides on their block. So if anyone knows how important crime is not only as a mayor but as a citizen, it's me," Mayor Scott said.
"Over 20 years I've spent my career trying to grow small businesses. I'm also very active in the downtown neighborhood association. I love getting in there working with neighbors working with other neighborhood associations to try to build stronger neighborhoods, which I really think are the root and the core of our city," Henderson said.
"I know what it takes to run a good business. I know what it takes. And it's people it's all about people. And my goal will be to get the right people in the right spots and hold those people accountable," Landers said.
The candidates were also asked how they want to spend the recently approved capital improvement bond and what changes they would like to see with property rights.