NC Senate Race: Crime, public safety among voters top concerns

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — We’re just over six weeks away from the Nov. 3 election and one of the races taking the spotlight is the North Carolina Senate race between Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.

A recent Nexstar/Emerson College poll shows Tillis has fallen behind Cunningham.

The poll, which was released on Monday, has Cunningham 48.9 percent compared to Tillis’ 43 percent.

The two are set to debate for a second time on Tuesday and one of the major issues voters want to be addressed is crime.

FOX 46 spoke with people in the community about what elected leaders need to do to keep everyone safe.

“A lot of our political folks they don’t step into our community. The touch, the feel, it’s more of a distant,” local barber “Big Red” said.

Big Red owns Master Kutz Barber Shop. He and his customers want to solve the neighborhoods problems.

“Ever since the George Floyd killing, Black-on-Black crime has skyrocketed, but we got all these Black Lives Matter protests. All these people claiming they took care of so much of the problems of the Black people, but the most serious problems have increased since this. Black-on-Black crime, Black-on-Black violence,” Big Red’s customer Snake said.

Defunding the police is a much-debated issue since the death of George Floyd, but it’s not a popular solution.

“I can’t say that’s the right thing to do,” said Big Red.

“I think it’s very sad what’s happened to the image of police officers because they dedicate their lives to protecting us,” Heather Place said.

In Union County, Sheriff Eddie Cathey said he doesn’t want to be a politician, but he hast a message for both Washington and Raleigh.

“You have to support public safety and I have a strong feeling that’s the sole job of a politician is public safety. If you don’t care about public safety you don’t care about anything else,” Cathey said.

Property crimes are up across the state.

According to the FBI, there were 259,000 property crimes reported in North Carolina in 2018, or 2,500 per 100,000 residents, slightly higher than the national rate.

“You just want to feel safe. I mean times are tough enough as it is and you don’t want to have to worry about crime in your community,” Place said.

Cathey feels that responsibility.

“If people don’t feel safe in their house. They don’t care whether you build a sidewalk,” Cathey said.

In more urban areas, gun violence is on the rise.

In the City of Charlotte, there were 108 homicides in 2019. Guns were used in 88 of them.

“Yeah, I mean, gun violence is getting out of hand. I’m a believer that it really came from video games. These kids have grown up the last ten years with how to control a weapon,” Big Red said.

Some wonder if comes down to new laws and regulations.

Come November, voters will decide who will run this state and country and the message from here is either way it goes, we need to all come together.”

“You know when we do have problems, we divide, and that’s not the answer. Our answer is let’s come together, let’s unify and let’s speak on common grounds and understand what our issues are,” said Big Red.

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