Pontiac mayoral candidates weigh in on how to best address crime in the city

Posted at 6:05 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 18:32:48-04

PONTIAC, MI (WXYZ) — Metro Detroit has seen an uptick in drive-by shootings including one this week that left an 80-year-old woman critically wounded after she was shot in the head. People in Pontiac are now debating over how to best address these violent crimes.

And with an election only days away, concerns about crime are a top priority for candidates for mayor.

“I watch possible drug deals happen every day on the corner when I drop my child off to school," one parent said. "And I’m concerned my child has to go through a metal detector every day.”

She’s a parent who’s grown tired of seeing deputies called to her son’s high school. And in a city that’s seen a recent rise in shootings, the topic of gun violence is a key issue in the upcoming election.

“It’s typically related to gang activity. Drug transactions. Grievances between family members and acquaintances,” former state lawmaker Tim Greimel said.

Greimel was a top vote-getter in the primary and supports the work of the Oakland County Sheriff's office.

They reached a deal more than a decade ago to provide services when Pontiac Police closed their doors and they have brought down crime overall, but Greimel also wants to better fund community solutions.

“We have a growing economy in Pontiac and need to use additional tax revenue to invest more in crime prevention,” Greimel said.

Another candidate, Alexandria T. Riley, sees a shortage of youth activities as a problem she would help turnaround.

“We used to have four community centers, three Boys & Girls clubs, summer youth,” Riley said.

Her plans also involve support of law enforcement and non-profit support.

Riley, with a background in community development and a lifelong resident of Pontiac, is the second-highest vote-getter so far.

A third write-in candidate Wanda Denise Coates is also vocal on the issue.

“Bring unity in the community. If people are working, the young men and women committing crimes won’t do if they can work. We have to have fairness in the system," she said.

All candidates agree the solution must involve engaging the community, and they plan to discuss further in the days to come.