LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock’s Vice Mayor and City Director of Ward 5 Lance Hines believes the city is dealing with a huge violence issue right now.
“I think it’s a huge problem, it’s the number one issue we’re facing as a city right now,” Hines said.
He said he is not concerned with trends across the U.S. that show violence is up for one reason or another. Hines is only concerned with his part of the country.
“We’ve already had the Chief before us and I really don’t care what’s going on in the rest of the US, I care about what’s going on in Little Rock, Arkansas,” Hines explained.
Ward 2 City Director Ken Richardson recently voiced his opinion on how the city can handle the issue, saying Little Rock doesn’t need to add officers.
“I don’t think we’re going to address the public safety or solve the public safety issue by having more police,” Richardson said. “We’re not going to police our way out of this.”
Hines thinks the exact opposite.
“This is absolutely a situation you police yourselves out of,” he contended, “because not policing has got us into this situation, but any time we have ramped up our enforcement and gotten a handle on what’s going on on the street, we’ve seen a decrease in crime, not an increase in it.”
The vice mayor believes the more relaxed approach the city and its police force takes with lesser crimes has partially lead to an uptick in major crimes, saying that if the city lets smaller crimes fall by the wayside then people will take notice and push the envelope.
Little Rock has seen five shootings involving children since March, a fact Hines said he was not surprised by.
“I think the children involved is not surprising. These are happening in public areas, and it just goes back to we’ve got to change tactics to make a change and we got to have help from the community,” he said.
Beyond the need for more policing, Hines thinks the community needs to help with the situation.
“This is happening in predominantly the African-American community, and we’ve got to have their help,” he said. “They’ve got to cooperate with the police. They’re there to help and we need them.”
Hines believes there must be a foundational change in the way policing is done and the city must hear from two of its top officials on the matter.
“I’ve been a fairly vocal critic of our mayor and our police chief and the tactics they’ve used,” he said, “and we’ve got to have a change and we’ve got to have a fundamental change in the way we’re approaching crime in Little Rock.”