JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — More people were killed by other people in Jackson in 2021 than any other year in Mississippi’s capital city.
Jackson reported at least 152 homicides in 2021, the Clarion Ledger reports, easily surpassing the city’ previous record of 130 homicides set in 2020.
The vast majority of the deaths were gun-related. December was the year’s deadliest month, with 21 homicides as of Dec. 30, the newspaper reported. The second deadliest was June, with 18 homicides.
Jackson’s Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has attributed the city’s high crime rate to multiple factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic poverty, poor education and a lack of jobs.
“We continue to work behind the scenes to tackle violent crime in Jackson,” Lumumba said. “We know the pandemic has increased the level of desperation that leads to violent crime across the nation, and Jackson has not been immune to that trend.”
Law enforcement officials and other politicians say guns are being used to settle disagreements stemming from family or neighborhood disputes.
Meanwhile, the Jackson Police Department has been dealing with officer vacancies. The Clarion Ledger reported in August 2020 the department was short 100 officers. Lumumba said the city will continue to increase the number of officers in the police department through recruitment and efforts to boost officer pay.