MACON, Ga. — Macon mayoral candidate and former businessman Cliffard Whitby addressed youth violence in the community at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Whitby and some of his supporters, including local pastors, gathered at New Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church to present his six-point platform to reduce crime in the area.
"We can't continue to turn a blind eye to what's happening in our city," Whitby said.
So far in Macon there's been 24 homicides in 2019. Here's his plan to reduce those numbers.
1. Reduce gun violence
Whitby said reducing gun violence is a top priority for his campaign, and wants to tackle gun violence with "innovative strategies and solutions."
"This is a fight for our community, I'm not going to shy away from that," Whitby said.
2. Put first responders first
Whitby applauded the work of the Bibb County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff David Davis in the community. He said he wants to further partner with law enforcement and first responders to strengthen them.
"They see this bloodshed, they see this carnage, they are affected as much as everybody else," Whitby said.
3. Invest in Macon-Bibb's youth
"We're not afraid of our young people, we know our young people are the future of this community," Whitby said. "Our young people hold the answers, we just got to support them."
4. Improve Macon-Bibb's approach to criminal justice reform
5. Fight crime before it happens
In a handout at the press conference, Whitby said he wants to speed up the demolition and land banking of nearly 10,000 blighted properties in the county.
The handout said he also wants to establish and designate "Opportunity Centers" in the community, where people can get job training and help grow the workforce.
The handout said he also wants to expand foot patrols downtown and in high-crime neighborhoods and conduct an annual survey of residents, businesses, and organizations about the sheriff's office and first responders in the county.
6. Make seniors safe
The handout said he wants to add street lights and sidewalks in senior citizens' neighborhoods. He also wants to create a safer way to report crime.
"I want our seniors to feel safe knowing that the once gang-bangers are now their protectors," Whitby said.
Whitby announced his mayoral run in October of this year after being acquitted on federal bribery charges.
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