Crime Crisis: Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba talks overcoming crime, redefining Jackson

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The City of Jackson has one of the highest crime rates in America, but Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said it takes more than the police department to make communities safer.

“It takes faith based leaders. It takes youth leaders. It takes people who provide social services, all to come together to understand the what and the why. Why is crime happening? What are the breakdown’s in the home?” expressed Lumumba.

12 News talked with Terun Moore, a man who was incarcerated as a teenager for murder. He was later released from prison, and now shares his story through what’s called credible messaging.

“They can engage in the challenges people are experiencing, and now they can engage and interrupt the cycle of violence that they may be headed down in that trajectory,” said Lumumba.

The city and police department isn’t walking away from the problem of the officer shortage.

“The first thing we endeavored to do is have consistent recruiting classes. That hasn’t been taking place for many years.”

To the mayor, keeping officers from leaving the force means hearing them out on issues and goals while making the job of a JPD officer more attractive.

“The time that they could actually have an increase was a huge gap, nearly 10 years before people could expect any reasonable raise. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t believe that we need to increase salaries more across the board, and we need to increase the salaries of our city employees more. We want people to have living wages.”

Lumumba looked back on some of the challenges he faced coming into office.

“When we first came into office, not only were there no raises in sight, we were furloughing city employees, balancing our budget off their backs. We were able to end that practice and give two percent raises across the board. We’ve now recently adjusted the entry level salary scale, and we’ve been able to provide 100 percent coverage of insurance premiums.”

The mayor said people are dealing with issues of hunger, eviction and mental health which leads to deseperation causing crime.

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