Lumumba: We will be tough… We will be tough… We will be tough on crime

August 23, 2017 in News

By Othor Cain,

Editor,

Lumumba

Lumumba

Vance

Vance

Wanting to fight the perception that crime is out of control in Mississippi’s capital city, the mayor and police chief appeared at City Hall in Jackson Tuesday, to address the recent onslaught of violent crimes and lay out a narrative that they would be both tough and smart about fighting crime and ensuring that residents are safe.

Though extremely short on specific details, in relation to the five homicides over a ten-day time frame; two that happened Monday morning within an hour of each other, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba vowed that his administration, along with the Police Department, would be tough on crime. “We will be tough…we will be tough…we will be tough on crime,” he said. “But we’ll also be intelligent and fully committed to eradicating the conditions that lead to  crime.”

Lumumba, who has been on the job as the city’s CEO for nearly two months, also circled back to a campaign promise of dealing with crime from a holistic point of view and reassured citizens that in doing so, tough decisions must be made. “We cannot arrest our way out of these problems but we must be smart enough to understand that there’s a direct correlation between crime and poverty,” Lumumba said. “We are working to eradicate poverty in Jackson, we are securing outside funding to help us with both.”

Lumumba also vowed to give the Jackson Police Department the support it needs to fight crime in Jackson. “Incorporated within our proposed budget is an opportunity to get a recruiting class for officers,” the mayor said. “We are at a critical shortage at this time and we are looking at a number of officers coming up for retirement.”

Jackson’s Top Cop, Lee Vance, said the city is budgeted for 418 officers, but only 373 are on staff and of those (373), only 210 are patrol officers.

Vance hates the word “perception” but articulates the struggle. “I don’t like the “p” word, but I understand how most people view crime and the reality it brings,” he said. “But in reality, crime is down, this time last year we were at roughly about 42 homicides and today we are at 39…by my calculation, that’s a decrease.”

While the number of violent crimes in Jackson are down, fear and anxiety around crime is on the rise.

Monday, around 1 a.m., Jackson Police responded to a call that a gray Nissan Altima was stalled in traffic with bullet holes in it. Upon arriving at the scene, police found the driver, Malik McIntee, 21, dead in the driver’s seat. A half hour later, officers responded to a call of a shooting and a stabbing on Branch Street. Police said 21-year-old Reginald Cammon had been shot multiple times and was also found dead at the scene.

Monday’s homicides follow what police are calling at this time a ‘random’ shooting Thursday night. Chelsie Lynn Kirschten, 23 was shot and killed at the intersection of Fortification and State Streets. Police are continuing their investigation in this case. “I can tell you we know more today about all of these cases than we knew when they happened,” Vance said. “It is safe to say at this point, they are still considered random.”

Vance, however, pushed back on ‘random’ violence in Jackson, when he said, “random shootings in the city are basically non-existent.”