GUIZERIX: When the dust settles after Election Day
Published 4:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Vicksburg’s municipal elections are over, and we officially know who will lead our town through the next four years.
Now, as voting members of the community, it is time for the public to hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire, as it were. While Vicksburg has made great leaps and bounds over the last four years, there are many problems that persist.
Chief among the issues we’re still facing as a city is crime. From vehicle thefts and break-ins to drug arrests to robberies and shootings, the problem has moved beyond petty offenses to something far more sinister. In a recent survey sent out by The Post, our candidates for mayor and aldermen offered their anecdotes for why crime in Vicksburg is so bad — and more importantly, what they were willing to do to put a stop to it.
“It’s an issue that begins in the home,” one said. “Respect for the law isn’t what it should be,” another said. “Mental issues need to be equally addressed,” said another.
The real solution might be a combination of these statements.
It’s true that there are many offenders and many habitual offenders in Vicksburg who are barely out of their teens. A better home life and a greater sense of pride in the community certainly couldn’t hurt when it comes to making an effort to steer young people away from a criminal lifestyle.
It’s true that respect for law enforcement officers is low, especially considering the year of protests and civil unrest following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others at the hands of police officers. Independent candidate for mayor Daryl Hollingsworth also pointed out a decrease in the number of officers working for the Vicksburg Police Department.
It’s true that some people who end up in jail suffer from mental issues. Whether it’s a diagnosis like schizophrenia, the disease of addiction or depression, much positive change could be brought about if resources were poured into building up those in the legal system — and those at risk — instead of tearing them down.
It’s up to our leaders to collaborate amongst themselves and members of the community to find solutions that will be effective for Vicksburg and to recognize when to seek advisement from outside experts.
The people have spoken, and elected leaders they believe will best serve the community. However, winning an election is only the first hurdle. It’s time to deliver on the many campaign promises — and time for constituents to hold their elected officials accountable.