BOSTON (CBS) — No question, the genteel veneer of the mayor’s race is starting to slip as voting day approaches.

For two of the leading candidates, the question of who can best tackle the city’s lingering crime problems was front and center on Thursday.

For State Rep. Marty Walsh, crime is important.

He represents some of the city’s most troubles neighborhoods.

Related: Meet The Mayoral Candidates

He says the city’s lingering crime problems demand more preventative measures.

“We certainly need more opportunities for young people, we need more program for kids with drug and alcohol addictions and also we have to keep your young people in school so they have an opportunity to get a future,” Walsh said.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley was sounding an almost identical theme as he worked the midday Bingo game at this East Boston church.

“They end up dropping out of school and then they turn to guns and gangs and violence. I want to do everything that I can to close the achievement gap, get those kids through high school, hopefully onto college or at least into a good paying blue collar job,” Conley said.

But that’s where their agreement ended.

“The DA is the office that enforces the people that get arrested. As far as prevention, I haven’t seen a lot of prevention,” Walsh said.

“Unions are going to want the highest contract they get without consideration to parks and schools and job training programs.” Conley said. “He’s so heavily funded and backed by that movement that it’s really going to be impossible,” Conley said.

That’s a claim Walsh denies.

The vast majority of city residents tell pollsters they feel safe in their neighborhood.

But after last weekend, when five separate shootings across the city left one person dead and eight injured, expect the issue to be a key part of the debate for the remainder of this campaign.


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