Safety is essential for thriving communities, and in Cary, everyone deserves secure neighborhoods and schools. By investing in a well-equipped public safety system, providing continuous training, and fostering collaboration between communities and law enforcement, we can create a safe and inclusive environment for all residents. Together, let's ensure that Cary remains a secure place where everyone feels protected and represented.
Safe streets, schools and public places are fundamental to thriving communities. No matter who you are, where you live, what your income, or what you look like, everyone in Cary deserves peace of mind to know that their neighborhoods and children's schools are safe. Our police department should reflect the diversity of the communities it serves. Our public safety agencies (not just police, but fire, EMS and 911 center) should be responsibly resourced so we can guarantee that emergency response times meet national standards. It is crucial that we continue to invest in building a 21st century police department that is transparent, accountable, proactive in preventing crime, and responsive to the unique needs of our residents and diverse communities.
A comprehensive approach to 21st century policing requires not only adequate staffing, but also continuous training and education for our officers. By equipping them with the knowledge and understanding of our diverse community, as well as the best practices for conflict de-escalation, appropriate use of force, and crime prevention, we can foster a safer environment for everyone. It is concerning that 20% of the positions within our police staff remain unfilled, and I am committed to addressing this issue. We must offer competitive salaries to attract and retain the best talent, so that we can build professional, forward-thinking, and diverse public safety agencies in Cary.
One area of particular concern is the safety of our public schools. Recent statistics show a 30% rise in gun possessions in North Carolina public schools as well as a 16% rise in school crime across the state. Our public schools are dealing with an increasing number of threats of violence. In May, Alston Ridge Middle School here in District D was evacuated because of a bomb threat. Current conditions are unacceptable, and I will work closely with the Wake County School Board, Wake County Sheriff and Cary Police Department to explore all avenues to enhance the safety of our schools.
I recognize the need to address the concerns expressed by certain communities who feel more vulnerable to property crime. I am committed to fostering open dialogue and collaboration between all communities and the Cary PD, ensuring that everyone feels safe, understood, and represented on matters of public safety.
Lastly, it is important to acknowledge that the responsibility of ensuring community safety does not rest solely on the police, they cannot do it alone. Collaborative efforts involving community members, local organizations, and law enforcement agencies are crucial for building safer neighborhoods for everyone. By fostering partnerships and promoting community engagement, we can create a culture of safety that empowers residents to actively contribute to the well-being of their communities. Together, we can work towards a future where everyone in Cary feels secure and protected, regardless of their background or circumstances.