Montgomery County is undergoing a major shift in its population, with Pike Road experiencing a 17% increase in new arrivals and the city itself seeing a 1% decrease. It's hard to measure the full impact of this change, but many believe it has already had a significant effect on important issues. To gain insight into the city's changing political landscape and how perceptions of crime and education have altered the debate, the Montgomery Advertiser contacted all of the campaign managers involved in the mayoral race. The responses varied from those who viewed demographic change as an insignificant factor to those who argued that the rise of social media and prolonged issues with education, combined with the emergence of Pike Road, have caused a generational shift that will be seen in the upcoming mayoral elections. One source pointed out that citizens can now report problems and get thousands of views within hours.
This has democratized access to information, but it has also changed people's awareness and fear of victimization. A prime example of this is the proliferation of Facebook groups such as City Watch Uncut, which bring attention to crimes that would otherwise go unreported in traditional media outlets. This has become so popular that one group administrator, Shannon Ferrari, announced her candidacy for mayor on Tuesday. Victorrus Felder, another candidate in the race and a Department of Corrections officer, has dedicated his entire campaign to combating crime and its economic consequences. The other candidates have also put forth comprehensive plans to address crime. While it may be a motivating factor for those leaving Montgomery, the rapid growth of Pike Road's education system suggests that crime is not the only factor at play.
However, one activist rejected the idea that he had a major influence on the campaign. Ben Richardson, who is leading retired Brigadier Ed Crowell's campaign, was unsure if this would affect the race. But since education is only tangentially affected by who holds executive office in Montgomery, crime is likely to remain at the forefront of debate until residents feel there has been an adequate response. This will require more than just one politician to bridge divisions within the community – something Strange has repeatedly spoken about in light of recent gun violence.