Crime dominates conversation at Chattanooga mayoral candidate fo - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Crime dominates conversation at Chattanooga mayoral candidate forum

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Current mayor Andy Berke, David Crockett, current councilman Larry Grohn and Chris Long sat in front of a small crowd at a forum held by the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors. 

They talked about a variety of topics but crime in the Scenic City dominated the conversation. 

It's a topic at the forefront of Jill Christy's mind. 

"We're not stopping the crime," she said. 

She recently became a victim when someone stole all the valuables out of her car as she paid inside at a gas station. 

The experience has opened her eyes to this problem like never before. 

"I was able to walk away unharmed but in my opinion, there are children that are listening to the gunfire every night," she added. 

With the number of homicides at a 20 year high, Christy wants to know how Chattanooga's next mayor is going to tackle the problem. 

She brought her concerns to Wednesday's forum where Berke says another term would allow him to make progress in the in the fight against crime. 

"That's not enough and nobody think's it's enough. In fact, we've done all these other things as I've said, more police officers on the street, hired a U.S. attorney but even that is not enough," Berke said.    

Candidate David Crockett disagrees and believes he can tackle the problem better. 

"We'll look at the criminals and we will treat them as criminals. We will not do a social experiment and put our community, our businesses, our tourism at risk," Crockett said. 

Candidates Larry Grohn and Chris Long believe tackling crime can be done with better training. 

"The core issues are the lack of affordable housing, poverty and the lack of job training skills in the city," Grohn said. 

"I've been an advocate for trade schools for four years now. Ever since I came onboard for mayor, it's been on the forefront," Long added. 

Before heading to the polls in March, Christy says she would like to hear more about each candidates plans and hopes more forums like his will be held in the future. 

Candidates also answered questions on education, jobs and economic growth. 

Voters head to the polls on March 7, 2017. 

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