City Council Candidate Announces Gun Violence Prevention Program

Sojourner’s Truth Staff

Michele Grim, PhD, a first-time candidate for Toledo City Council, released a 10-point program to reduce gun violence on Monday, July 26 during a press conference in front of the Lucas County Courthouse in direct response to the program released a week earlier by former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who has announced his candidacy to reclaim his former spot.

Finkbeiner announced his gun violence 10-point program last week that included: enforcing the Toledo curfew, creating a law enforcement multi-agency task force; a gun ban for Saturday Night Specials and multiple firing weapons; a gun buyback program; increased youth employment; reward money for information; increasing the Blockwatch Program; drop-boxes to solicit information; targeting repeat offenders and strengthening police initiatives.

Immediately after his announcement, Grim, a public health expert and gun violence researcher, criticized the Finkbeiner proposals as outdated “failed ideas.”

Finkbeiner shot back over the weekend and chastised Grim on a Sunday television show.

“Regrettably, I must first address derisive remarks made about me by mayoral candidate Carty Finkbeiner on yesterday’s episode of Leading Edge with Jerry Anderson on WTOL,” said Grim at the start of her press conference on Monday. “Confronted about my observation that he failed to protect public safety as mayor, Finkbeiner dismissed me as a ‘young woman’ and ‘professor-type’ while he himself is a former mayor.

“Finkbeiner is no crimefighter,” she continued. “He gutted police protection as mayor and now proposes wasting money on failed ideas. Research finds that gun buyback programs don’t reduce gun crime and that youth curfews cause gun violence to increase. Our community can’t afford leadership that refuses to learn from past mistakes.”

Grim’s gun violence prevention program includes the following 10 points:

  • Hiring more homicide detectives – to increase the murder clearance rate;
  • Using “focused deterrence” strategies to reduce violent crime – particularly by identifying individuals most likely to commit violent crimes;
  • Street outreach to de-escalate potentially violent conflicts – by using workers to approach such situations – Grim said the Mayor’s Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence, under the direction of JoJuan Armour, “is a good start;”
  • Strengthen domestic violence prevention – since nearly half of all women murdered in the US are killed by a current or former intimate partner;
  • Targeted intervention to gunshot victims at high risk of future violence – providing such victims with specialized counseling and comprehensive services to prevent future issues;
  • Launch a gun theft education initiative – encouraging gunowners to practice safe and secure storage of firearms to decrease the chances of theft;
  • Improve “natural surveillance” of streets – adding street lighting, improving pedestrian access and eliminating hiding and lurking places;
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of every homicide – we should ask why such an incident happened and ask what can be learned from it;
  • Fund public health research of local gun violence to improve prevention strategies – examine local risk factors for gun crime involvement;
  • Advocate in Columbus for common sense gun safety laws – to seek passage of universal background checks and Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

There are six Toledo City Council at-large seats up for election in November. A primary election is scheduled for September 14 to reduce the field of 20-plus candidates to 12 finalists.

Grim has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Toledo and her doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University. She is a legislative liaison for the Ohio Public Health Association has been endorsed by the Lucas County Democratic Party.