Voters take to the polls on Tuesday after another violent week in Manchester.
Three people were stabbed Saturday by a man wielding a box cutter at the Capital Auto Auction on Londonderry Turnpike. Byron Bloomfield, 25, is charged with three counts of first-degree assault for the attack.
But, there is a good chance Bloomfield will be back on the streets in time to vote. The Queen City keeps seeing people charged with serious crimes get easy bail.
On Tuesday, Manchester Police arrested Anastase Kabura, 24, on a charge of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon while investigating a disturbance on Precourt Street. Kabura had been arrested days before on a disorderly conduct charge and was quickly released.
The revolving door at the courthouse is leaving Manchester’s streets unsafe, said Jay Ruais, the GOP candidate for mayor.
“Time and time again, we see violent criminals released on bail and rearrested. We must fix the broken bail system to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe … The safety and well-being of Manchester residents and visitors is at risk every time a violent criminal is released back out onto our streets,” Ruais said.
In recent months, two men charged in an Elm Street shooting got released on relatively low cash bail. In another incident, 10 people were arrested for being part of a street fight in the area of Auburn and Cedar Streets, where two men were stabbed. Most of the suspects were quickly released on bail.
Ruais is running as a change agent against current Mayor Joyce Craig’s hand-picked successor, Democrat Kevin Cavanaugh. Ruais wants to see the bail system plaguing New Hampshire fixed, he wants to concretely deal with the city’s growing homeless problem, and he wants to get a handle on the opioid crisis.
Critics of the city’s current leadership argue Cavanaugh is essentially running as Craig 2.0, offering more of the same policies the incumbent mayor has already tried. “I want to build on the progress we’ve made in the past few years,” Cavanaugh said in an ad.
Many Manchester residents don’t see the past few years as a time of progress.
Manchester’s homeless population continues to grow, seeing a major increase over the past several years. According to the New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness, the Manchester region was home to more than 1,700 homeless people in 2021, the most recent data available.
The homeless population is tied to the city’s opioid addiction crisis, with half the opioid overdoses taking place among that group.
“We have a city filled with promise, but the drug problem and homeless crisis are contributing to the serious public safety concerns we have and are keeping us from reaching our full potential,” Ruais said.
Manchester is on track for more than 720 opioid overdoses this year, according to American Medical Response data, the biggest number of overdoses since 2016.
Crime statistics show Manchester is the top spot for violent crime in New Hampshire, far outpacing other cities and towns. Data from the Manchester Police Department show the city is experiencing a drop in property crime this year, though violent crime reports are holding steady compared to prior years.
“The status quo that we are seeing here in the city cannot continue,” Ruais told WMUR. “We cannot tolerate the disorder and dysfunction we’re seeing on our streets, and we also can’t tolerate the human suffering we’re seeing.”