At the virtual meeting of mayors with the Guilford County Board of Commissioners on Monday, March 1, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan led off her comments with a report on affordable housing.
Vaughan talked about economic incentives, megasites, parks and recreation, the 2040 strategic plan, becoming the greenest city in the Southeast, streetscapes, the Downtown Greenway, COVID-19 regulation enforcement and finally public safety issues.
The record homicide rate in 2020 and the increase in gun violence have been on the minds of just about everyone in Greensboro in recent years. Last year, there was a lunchtime shootout in broad daylight in the middle of downtown, and, last month, there was a drive-by shooting in Irving Park, an area of town that’s been free of that type of crime until now.
The mayor said Guilford County and the city had worked together well over the past year addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and providing relief to citizens, but, at the March 1 meeting, she asked for help with crime.
“We have a lot of really, really good things going on in Greensboro, but we also have some things that cause us some concern, and, obviously, the big one is we have a public safety issue when it comes to our homicide rate and aggressive assaults.”
Vaughan said the City Council was working closely with Greensboro Police Chief Brian James.
“He runs the Police Department and tells us what he needs and we have been giving him what he needs,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan said city leaders are also working with community groups to make Greensboro one of the safest places to live.
“Because we can have all these great things, but if people don’t feel good – if they don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods, then it’s kind of all for naught,” Vaughan said. “We want people in East Greensboro to feel as safe as they do in West Greensboro.”
She said that, if the commissioners were asking the city where the county could help, that was it.
“If there’s funding available, we need funding for more public safety,” she said.
She said that police and other emergency responders had put in a lot of overtime in the past year.
Vaughan said she would like to see Guilford County and Greensboro partner together to address the city’s crime problem in the same manner they did in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.