Crime Crisis: Former Jackson mayor Tony Yarber talks solution to crime

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JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – Tony Yarber was the mayor of Jackson from April 2014 to July 2017, and the city was not exempt from a crime crisis during that time.

“We were a city that struggled with everything from crime to infrastructure woes, and so we were a typical mid-major city in 2014,” he explained.

Yarber said one of the major factors in the combating crime was partnering with federal and local agencies, as well as building a relationship with then U.S. Attorney Greg Davis, which he said led to a double digit decrease in crime.

“We launched an initiative in west Jackson that we wouldn’t just arrest people, but make sure we had community resources that were part of that. We decreased crime during that period by 90% in that area.”

Another factor he credits is resources, specifically human resources in the police department.

“We could commit a certain amount of officers to work specifically and strategically in major crimes. I think now the city has seen a lot of the officers who have gone on and many of them have retired and gone on to other agencies, but that was a luxury we had then, but also we didn’t have a pandemic.”

In terms of the number of homicides the city has recorded during the pandemic, Yarber said domestic relationships are just the surface of a larger issue that must be addressed.

“Well let me just say it this way, I’m not familiar with the data looks like, so I hear people say the majority of the crimes are between people who know each other and that could be true, but we don’t know the nature of those. I know the majority of the nature of it has to do with drugs, so I’m typically selling drugs to people I know, so even in that conversation it makes the data kind of ambiguous.”

Yarber said the solution must be data drive and then fiscal and human resources must be deployed in the areas to fix the issue and all parts of Jackson must be given necessary attention.

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