Published 10:06 am Monday, May 9, 2016

The seventh annual Walk Against Crime was held Saturday morning as those who wanted to stand up to crime took a half-mile walk from City Hall to the Warren County Courthouse.

Members of the Vicksburg Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Board of Supervisors, Youth Court and the District Attorney’s office were represented at the walk and spoke during the closing ceremony about the solid professional relationships the offices have with each other. Each person highlighted the importance of working together as a community.

“The important thing we need to understand is that the Vicksburg Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Department and the DA department, they can’t do it alone,” Supervisor Charles Selmon said. “When we’re fighting against crime in our community, each person in our community has a part.”

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The help of the public is needed, Vicksburg police Chief Walter Armstrong said, to report suspicious activity and watch out for their fellow neighbor. He would like to see more neighborhood watch programs created in Vicksburg.

“If we’re going to keep this community safe we must unify with one voice,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong talked about current crime trends in Vicksburg.

“As of May 2016, this year we have had zero murders on the streets of Vicksburg,” Armstrong said.

He said crime was down overall, but areas Vicksburg needs to improve are youth fighting, domestic violence and vehicle burglaries.

“We can not standby and let this type of activity take place in our community,” Armstrong said.

District Attorney Ricky Smith said he was encouraged by what he saw during last week’s grand jury.

“I’ve been in office for 8 and a half years now and this last grand jury was by far, as far number of cases presented, was by far the smallest,” Smith said.

He asked for patience in the judicial system because it takes time for a case to go through the courts.

“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they turn,” Smith said.

Sheriff Martin Pace said it is important for parents and church families to be actively involved in their children’s lives and to discipline them so they don’t choose violence as they get older.

“Whether they’re grade school children or teenagers, they need some type of guidance, they need structure, they need to know where the limit is, and so many of the young people we deal with today have never experienced that,” Pace said.

Investigator Tommy Curtis announced a summer youth program where officers teach the children values and responsibility in a fun environment with games like stickball and basketball. The camp starts May 31 and is $10 for 6 weeks. Applications can be found at the junior high schools.

“That’s the best way to solve crime in this community,” Curtis said. “Give them something to do and they’ll stay out of trouble.”

The ceremony ended with a red and blue balloon release in memory of all those who have been lost to violence.