DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Less than a week before Election Day, candidates in Durham gathered for a public forum to talk about the issues.
The event was put on at the North Star Church on West Geer Street by Durham Arts and Culture Advocates, a coalition of artists, historians, and culture leaders in the Bull City
The main focus of the forum was arts, which are incredibly important to Durham resident Linda Belans.
"To separate them is the actual great mistake," Belans said. " I'm talking about how arts are the connective tissue among all of it for all the reasons you heard, they help kids, they help reduce crime so maybe we don't need so many police.
Candidates running to lead the city said it's so much more than that. From people running for city council to those running for mayor.
"With my legislative work, the arts have been a critical part of my work in Raleigh," said State Senator Mike Woodard.
ABC11 spoke with current council member and business owner Leonardo Williams as well as State Senator Mike Woodard after the event was over about crime and safety.
"The safety of our community is critical. We're never going to be a great community until people feel safe in their community," Woodard said.
Woodard is focused on city services, paying employees more, and filling the hundreds of DPD vacancies as well as in the 911 center.
"We've got to address that with pay, with bonuses, and find a way to make sure we are as fully staffed as we can be," he said.
Williams said it's not one thing alone and more of a holistic approach.
"It's not whether the arts are more important than crime or transportation," Williams said. "It's how we utilize each segment of our society to work together to holistically uplift humanity."
Durham voter Carl Kenney agreed.
"Arts are important because it gives them a chance to imagine something beyond what they are currently enculturated to live with. No separation between the two," he said.