FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – According to the Cumberland County Board of Elections, Fayetteville is seeing a record number of early voters for the municipal elections, a good thing, as The City of Fayetteville’s mayor and city council seats are up for grabs.

CBS 17 talked to both mayoral candidates about some of the things voters are discussing, including crime. Something mayoral candidate Freddie de la Cruz said is a priority. 

“That’s probably why we have a lot of murders in Fayetteville. The lack of police patrolling in Fayetteville,” de la Cruz said.

Incumbent Mayor Mitch Colvin admits it’s an issue, too. However, he doesn’t agree that more policing is the answer.

“We have been very proactive in investing in the things (that) mitigate crime in the first place, as well as technology to help our police officers to be more successful,” Colvin said. “We’ve closed the hiring gaps, unlike many cities across the country. We don’t have those large vacancies anymore.”

Some people believe the high poverty and lack of enough high-paying jobs in Fayetteville are contributing factors.

“I had some money put in this year’s budget for partnerships and training people for the next generation job,” Colvin said.

Furthermore, de la Cruz said he too would advocate for fair wages.

“I would advocate (for) businesses to hire good people and give them fair wages,” he said. “I’m all about giving people fair wages. It all goes to work ethic.”

The Fayetteville Market House is another hot topic for the city over the last two years.

The former town hall was also a place where slaves were sold.

“Paint it black and let’s do something with the building that’s going to benefit the entire community,” de la Cruz said. “What could that be? It could be a black museum. It could be a tourist center.”

Colvin agreed and said turning the page is also important.

“I think repurposing it, telling the story and getting input from the citizens certainly is the key to success where we turn the page,” Colvin said.

Early voting ends at Cumberland County Board of Elections on July 23 with Election Day following on July 26.