JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – When it comes to fighting crime in Jackson, Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba has his hands full. So far, more than 50 homicides have been reported in the city in 2021.
Bringing communities together has been a challenge for the mayor.
“What we have witnessed is a community in trauma, and when you see that trauma, there’s an escalation in domestic violence, there’s an escalation in crimes of poverty such as robberies and burglaries. All of these things not only do we want to be tough on crime, we certainly want to be tough on crime, we’re not skipping that, but we also want to be smart on crime. We want to make sure we’re not only attacking the what but the why, so we have to get to the root of these challenges,” Lumumba stated.
Part of the challenge the city is facing is a shortage of police officers. The department is actively recruiting and expanding their reach to bring officers in. You no longer have to live in Jackson to work on the force.
“Increasing the number of our officers, we have already been doing that. We have had five times as many recruit classes as previously been taking place before we took office.”
The mayor admitted there’s more to dealing with Jackson’s crime crisis than policing.
“We’re looking at a comprehensive view. We understand that there are so many challenges that are beyond our police. We’re expecting too much of our police to be able to deal with all of these challenges,” he said. “It’s not a flip of the switch easy solution that leads to crime going down. That is why we’ve not only seeing a rise in crime in the City of Jackson, there’s been a 40 percent increase in violent crime nationwide.”
The mayor wants to work with outside organizations and set up community centers to give young people something to do and safe places to go.
“You can’t simply out police crime. If you don’t do something about the issues that lead someone to that criminal activity in the first place, if you pick up somebody at 5:00, you’ll have someone else in their place at 6:00.”
It’s a problem the mayor said is a long-term strategy and not a quick fix. Lumumba also said he has confidence in Police Chief James Davis.
You can watch more of the one-on-one interview with the mayor on Mississippi Insight on Sunday, May 23, at 10:30 a.m.