Many respondents expressed concerned about their safety that extended from personal to community safety. These responses often overlapped with concern about police violence and reform.
Safety was a key part of aspirational visions about the future of Greensboro. Residents generally desire a community in which they feel safe:
"Some things I strongly desire for the city of Greensboro is a safe community. Being in college, i find myself constantly worrying about my well being walking to the car during evening classes. I know that many students, men and women, definitely feel the same. There are a lot of crimes in the city of Greensboro and being that there are a lot of surrounding colleges in the area, there tends to be parties and other events."
I want to live in a city where every citizen, regardless of their race, creed or color, can walk down the street without fear of being harassed and or assaulted by the police or other citizens. And, if someone is arrested, I'd like it if they could make it through the process alive and be left to suffocate in the back of a police car. I want to live in a city where no citizen goes hungry, lives outdoors, or can't pay their utilities. I want to live in a city where people can access healthcare when they need it without fear of going bankrupt. I want to live in a city where less affluent neighborhoods have as much access to parks and green space as the upscale ones do. Basically, I want to live in a city that values all its citizens, not just ones who are white or wealthy.
Collaborative equitable safe peaceful healthy community where all living beings thrive.
Responses exemplified the sentiment of those residents who fear for their safety because of police, or in encounters with police:
I'm hearing that it is the police union that prevents the mayor from stopping police violence, so I would like to change that. Make it possible to reform the police dept. so that it protects, rather than kills people (e.g. Marcus Smith.)
Economic, Racial, educational and Social equity and equality...Police training so that there will never be another murder like Marcus D. Smith (I knew him and am still outraged) and a better City Council for many reasons. Also, better public schools...
Thoughtful planning that includes all segments of the city, leaders who value diversity, equality and inclusion and who work on behalf of the citizens with courage and conviction. Leaders who recognize quality of life factors and can ensure the entire city- east to west and north to south has access to vital resources. A police force that does [not] continue to amass military style weapons and with whom every person can feel safe approaching. I want peace and that means ending gun violence.
I want Greensboro to be accessible and safe for all its citizens. Greensboro is still very segregated and racial injustice abounds in all of the systems that intersect here. I want to see fully funded education with particular attention paid to the Black and Brown schools that have been chronically underfunded and are in much poorer condition than the white majority schools. I want Greensboro to atone for the death of Marcus Smith and to take actual REAL steps to curb further instances of police brutality. The taxpayers have paid too much for the mistreatment of our citizens at the hands of police. I want our police to be demilitarized. I want investment in services instead of pandering to developers. I want our homeless citizens to not be criminalized simply because they do not have a safe place to live. I want our city government to actually hold predatory landlords accountable for making repairs on property that ultimately costs renters in utility costs.
Meanwhile, a small but not insignificant number of respondents expressed concerns about crime and desires for police to step up efforts to keep us safe.
Peaceful, safe, gang and theft control. Better training for our police. They will be safe and keep and treat us safe
A safe drama free place to live. Crime has risen in the 20 years I've been in GSO and it needs to decrease not increase. Vandalism shouldn't be an accepted norm. I love the bike paths and lakes. Would like to see them expanded.
More well paying jobs and economic development and more law enforcement. Crime rate is way too high. A mayor and City Council that is serious about law and order and enforcement and does not bend over backwards to please every special interest group. A school superintendent and school board that will do what is best for the kids, the parents, and the teachers.
While the above sentiments related to police represented a large portion of responses, the most common pattern in responses related to safety and justice recognized that these issues overlap with other social concerns such as poverty, healthcare, and hunger:
Fairness in the justice system across all race and class lines in Guilford County. Economic opportunity to allow those who apply themselves to find appealing work that provides sufficient resources for their needs. An end to the ongoing cycle of violence that plagues the same neighborhoods year after year. Coordinated investments in local business development, including micro-lending to minority business start ups. Resources directed toward apprentice programs for non-college bound students. Schools focused on providing a sound basic education for ALL students, regardless of zip code. Housing programs designed to assist the whole person to transition from homelessness to stability.
No more hungry people less violence
A city or community that is inviting, clean and safe with equal treatment & opportunity for all in every encounter: Education, Housing, Health Care and Policing
Keep the downtown growing. Keep building a neighborhood feel. Keep the small town friendless but build for a future for all with well thought out growth. Make sure every neighborhood has a safe place for kid to be kids.