Crime seems to be a Metro-wide problem, but outside the city limits of Jackson the leading types of crime change drastically.
Walt Grayson talked with Sheriff Bryan Bailey in Rankin County tp find out what works.
More crimes of opportunity than anything- burglaries and shoplifting, and, of course, the undercurrent of drugs. Although Rankin County is a part of the Metro Area, the way the population is scattered there may account for some of the differences between it and the city of Jackson.
Sheriff Bryan Bailey explains.
“And that’s a unique thing about Rankin County. We have the largest unincorporated population in the state. You know we have a hundred and sixty thousand people in this county and half of them live outside the city limits. And the crime sort of varies, you know from one place to another. But right now our biggest crime, and it’s been this way for years, has been auto burglaries. And it seems to be most of the time, there’s some connection between the suspects and the neighborhoods that they’re hitting. It’s mostly young, black and white late teen, early twenties males committing these crimes. And believe it or not Mr. Grayson, the number one denominator with all of this is everybody is leaving their cars unlocked. If people in Rankin County would lock their cars our crime rate would be cut in half, our property crime rate. We don’t have a lot of murders, rapes, and robberies. We don’t have a lot of violent crime. But people here don’t want their stuff stolen. And what I try to tell everybody is Rankin County is probably one of the safest places to live in the state of Mississippi. But it’s not Mayberry. We have to lock our cars up at night. We have to lock our houses up when we leave to go to work every day.”
Sheriff Bailey says one of the biggest factors of Rankin County having a reputation for low crime rates is the legal system works smoothly there.
“It does. You know I would like to say that we have a reputation here in Rankin County of having firm but fair law enforcement. One thing we’re blessed here, most times we all get along with each other- the Board of Supervisors works hand in hand with the Sheriff’s office. Another great thing that we have is our District Attorney’s office and our Judges- we all work together, we’re all in sync with each other. But the average person in Rankin County from the time they’re arrested until the time they go to trial is easily within 9 to 12 months. And I think that’s a big key is you’ve got to keep it moving, keep it going and the whole system has to work together. And I’m not trying to bash anybody or say anything bad or anything. But I think that’s one problem with Hinds county is that’s is maybe they don’t have the cooperation that we have over here.”
So, as far as a solution to crime, a smooth working legal system is one of the key factors. And of course, as Mayor Lumumba said, the people are the first line of defense. We are the folks who see things first. Call law enforcement and don’t just look the other way