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Crime In Jackson A Top Concern For Mayor

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 27 Jul 2011 04:23pm | comments
Jackson's seal.

A string of murders and robberies in the capitol city is raising concerns that crime in Jackson is out of control. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Jackson city leaders are calling for more cops and more community cooperation.

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson introduced his budget recommendation yesterday, including plans to improve public safety in the capitol.

Johnson called for three police academies next year to raise the number of officers actively patrolling the streets to 500.

"That our goal. That is what the budget calls for. We have discovered it is very difficult to do that. It is especially difficult to do that if you only have two classes a year. And so, we are going to see this year with three police classes if we can get closer to that goal or exceed the goal," Johnson said.

Right now, there are around 450 police officers on Jackson streets.

Johnson also wants to add prison guards, 9-1-1 operators, additional beats in Northeast Jackson and an outreach program to bring Mississippians into the capitol city to improve its image.

Jackson Police department Office Lee Vance says most crime is between individuals who know each other, limiting the amount that police officers can do to prevent crime.

"We don't have a police officer to jump in between two people every time they get in a conflict. I am sure there are a bunch of them that happen where two people who know each other get into an argument and they find another way to resolve it. But unfortunately, we have too many times where it escalates into deadly violence," Vance said.

Vance says that means visitors to the capitol are at low risk for becoming victims.

Jackson resident Florine Keeler says she generally feels safe in Jackson, but a rash of car break-ins in her south Jackson neighborhood has made her see the need to get closer to her neighbors.

"For me, for what we are doing, we are saying we just need to pull together in my neighborhood. Because I still know that policemen cannot do it all. So we have just got to pull together," Keeler said.

JPD officials say crime statistics this year are at a comparable point to this time last year.

However, a review of yearly FBI crime statistics found the that Jackson's crime rate last was 14th highest in the nation.



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