Jackson City Council members, Hinds County Supervisors, and both Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones and Jackson Police Department (JPD) Police Chief James Davis spoke at a crime summit Tuesday in the wake of a record number of homicides in the city.
The summit, hosted by Ward 2 Councilwoman Angelique Lee at Faith Worship and Outreach Church, gave residents an opportunity to hear what plans they have to curb the violence.
“A lot of these incidents are disputes, retaliation, domestic violence, or drugs. We have a problem with people walking away from conflict,” Chief Davis said. “These things are hard to predict and prevent.”
Davis says citizens can expect to see an increased police presence with officers. They also plan to check in with local business owners to show that they have been in the area. Sheriff Jones, who worked for JPD over 20 years, concurred, saying Jackson’s problem is Hinds County’s problem.
“As the sheriff of Hinds County, it is my duty to have a strong working relationship with the Jackson Police Department,” he said. “That working relationship has come to fruition as we have apprehended some of the folks responsible for some of these recent crimes.”
As of Wednesday, there have been 146 recorded homicides in Jackson in 2021 which eclipses 2020’s record of 130 homicides. The city is on pace to reach 150 murders by the end of the year.
June of this year stands out with the most homicides – 17 to be exact – but December is on a fast track to surpass that number.
There have been 14 murders in the first two weeks alone.
Mayor Lumumba has blamed the crime on a myriad of issues from the pandemic to poverty to a scarcity of jobs. He said there are a number of things that need to be done to begin creating solutions.
“We’re looking at things from a policing standpoint, a detention standpoint, a legal standpoint, and even a social services standpoint,” he said. “People sometimes become critical when I say we need to attack this thing from a comprehensive standpoint and change these cycles as if that’s not being tough on crime.”
Lumumba says the police department is doing a good job with the limited staff they have. He says JPD’s crime solvability rate is better than the national average. The problem, he says, comes in the judicial and detention process.
“What you find is the court system is burdened with a three-year backlog because they are having processing issues with a state crime lab behind on processing evidence,” he said. “That keeps people in those detention spaces and there is limited space to open up for other people.”
Several concerned citizens in attendance voiced their frustrations with crime. Some had personal stories, others asked law enforcement to be more transparent with information.
“As the chief and the sheriff’s department communicate, let it come down to us,” said Robert Hayes, who lives in Ward 2. Hayes said it’s hard to feel sympathy for the police department being short-staffed when citizens see police vehicles parked in one spot for hours. That, he says, is not a good use of taxpayers’ dollars, and he wants to see that change.
“The governor has security at his property. We want security too!” he said. “Whatever it takes to vote for whoever it may be that’s going to take care of us, then that’s what we need to do.”