This past weekend, Amanda Garrett and Doug Livingston of the Beacon Journal/Ohio.com included an eye-catching number in their report on crime in Akron. They noted that in the 13 months ending in March, the city experienced just 10 days with no gunfire reported to the police department. Many of those days may have involved a single incident. That said, a reputation for gunfire isn’t the way to attract more residents or arrest a slide in population.

As Mayor Dan Horrigan heads toward the end of his first term and seeks re-election, he has numerous plates-spinning, from the makeover of Main Street to the continued search for savings in the massive combined sewer overhaul. What deserves as much attention as any priority is advancing the impression of Akron as a safe place to live, work and play. That is indispensable to his own and the city’s success.

As Garrett and Livingston reported, there are favorable numbers. The overall crime rate in the city declined 18 percent last year. What troubles especially are the higher levels of homicides, arson investigations and sexual assaults. Yes, homicides fell from 42 in 2017 to 37 in 2018. Yet concern is about a developing trend, the number of homicides in the 30s rather than the 20s, or even the teens. Then, there is the unnerving collateral effect of, say, stray bullets landing inside the homes of innocent neighbors.

What can be done? Voters approved a city income tax increase in 2017, and that has meant, among other things, new equipment and steady staffing for the police department, in particular, for uniformed officers. The city has reopened its police academy and appears more determined to enhance diversity in police ranks. That diversity objective, along with expanded training, point to gaining greater trust in neighborhoods, making officers more effective in their jobs.

The Rev. Gregory Harrison of Antioch Baptist Church, a retired police officer who is challenging the mayor in the Democratic primary, stresses the value of devoting resources to youth recreation programs. In that way, young people see alternative and productive pathways. They emerge better prepared. Such an effort requires resources. It also makes sense.

Horrigan, Harrison and Josh Sines, the Republican candidate for mayor, are right in emphasizing the problem of violent crime is complex, necessitating a strategy for the long term. Consider the city’s poverty rate, at 17.5 percent in 2000 and today at 25 percent. Those figures translate to diminished opportunity, making the landscape ripe for crime. The Elevate Akron report recently put it a bit differently in emphasizing the economic exclusion of the black community, more than 30 percent of the city’s population left behind.

So, no surprise, reducing crime is about expanding opportunity, or following through on the strategy outlined by the city, Summit County and the Greater Akron Chamber in Elevate Akron. Mayor Horrigan gets it, as he indicated to Doug Livingston in the Monday paper, citing an array of initiatives that go into boosting the economy, from tax abatement for new housing to the college and career academies of the Akron Public Schools and the arrival of Stark State College.

“There is no quick fix,” as the Rev. Harrison said.

That doesn’t mean there cannot be progress up front, through law enforcement strategies and engaging the most affected communities. It has been encouraging to see how businesses have jumped to do their part for the college and career academies of the city schools. The idea should be to develop similar enthusiasm for reducing gun and other violent crime. So it falls on the city leadership to make clear the stakes for all of Akron in more days without gunfire.