JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Members of the community are digging deeper to find out how to fix the City of Jackson’s crime problem.
There have been more than 50 homicides in the city in 2021. In 2020, the city had 128 homicides, which was the most since 1995. In April 2021, six people were killed in a 24-hour span.
Michael Thompson was born and raised in Jackson. He’s now an organizer in the Tougaloo community. He said he’s seen the crime get worse.
“I remember when I was coming up, we fought, and the next day we were back friends. But now, you don’t even get to fight. If you do, the next thing you hear is somebody shooting somebody,” Thompson said.
Community leaders believe most of the killings are domestic related. Some Jackson leaders point to guns as the underlying problem. Councilman Kenneth Stokes has been outspoken about gun shows.
“It’s surely wrong to have a gun show when you have 40 murders in the capital city, and you’re bringing more guns like you’re saying, ‘Here are some more guns so you can kill some more negros.’ We don’t support that theory,” the councilman said.
Thompson feels differently. He said to purchase a gun at a gun show, you do it legally. He said those who commit crimes are stealing the guns.
The owner of USA Pawn, Brian Smith, said in order to buy a gun, you need an ID and fill out a background check. They send the background check to the FBI for approval to see if you’re allowed to have a gun.
“As long as we don’t feel like they’re going to do something illegal, then we can sell them the gun. But if we think there’s an issue going on, ‘I just got in a fight with my wife. I need to buy a gun.’ No, sorry sir. Pass the background check or not, we’re not selling you a gun,” said Smith.
Thompson said the city needs more community involvement, interactive neighborhood watch meetings, a curfew and activities to give people a reason to care for Jackson.
“They have to go to Pearl for the skating rink. They have to go elsewhere for the movie theater. We don’t have that,” he said.