Appearing loose and battle tested, Rockford's mayoral candidates reached out to voters and neighbors. Moderators asked how the candidates would better organize neighborhood watch groups, and how their leadership would help reduce the city's overall crime.
"We need to make arrests; we need to hold people accountable, because when you start with the little crimes, it starts deterring the bigger crimes," candidate Gloria Cardenas Cudia said.
"A lot of minor crimes, if you talk to Mr. Logli, aren't ending up getting prosecuted, so we can arrest, but it doesn't do any good because they are not being prosecuted," Mayor Doug Scott said.
"The major focus of crime prevention needs to be working your neighbors. Why? Because you are the ones who know where the crime is occurring, where the drug houses are, where the graffiti is occurring," candidate Larry Morrissey said.
Candidates also respectfully disagreed on their solutions to homelessness and social dependency in city neighborhoods.
"It's not only a Rockford problem, it's a nationwide problem, and we are making steps to make sure individuals in trouble are getting ahead in this community," Scott said.
"Create jobs and economic opportunities in our neighborhoods. That's the only way to do it; we have to stop looking for these magic solutions," Morrissey said.
"If we want to eliminate some of these problems, some of those issues, we have to take it a step further to get these individuals back to becoming productive citizens," Cudia said.
They are grassroots issues these candidates hope will generate grassroots support in the neighborhoods, just weeks before Election Day.