Crime Crisis: A Divine Appeal

12 News Investigates

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – There are more than 700 churches in Jackson. While the church is supposed to be the salt of the earth, many hope that it will be part of the solution to crime.

Dr. Dewayne Pickett is the senior pastor of New Jerusalem Church. He said combating crime in Jackson starts with restoring relationships and providing opportunities.

“We gotta make sure we’re helping families stand together and understand how to navigate through those issues, and we’re telling people that there is hope. And we’re going to get through this as we work through this together. And three, I think we have to provide opportunities and connections for people to be able to get jobs,” explained Pickett.

Pastor Marek Walker, of Cherry Grove Missionary Baptist Church, agreed that opportunities are critical. He said it’s important to understand people in the community.

“Don’t frown on those from the inner city or impoverished areas. That’s our heart. We’ve always had to struggle, and we’ve always had to fight. And by the grace of God, we’re still making it,” said Walker.

Leaders said food giveaways also make a difference in the community. Recently, people lined J.R. Lynch Street to receive food and prayers at Word of Christ Church. Pastor Devon Adams said crime can’t be impacted until the church goes into the community.

“Being a pastor in this city, we don’t just give out food, but we go into the streets and set up tents all over the city of Jackson proclaiming peace,” he said.

Adams said the church must restore itself before restoring the community.

“If the city the youngsters who are pulling the pistols can see that there’s a place of love and unity, they would want to come into that. But if they see us arguing and bickering and fighting, who wants to come to a place that i’m trying to get out of?”

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