OUR OPINION: Project Safe Neighborhoods will benefit all in Warren County

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 30, 2021

There’s no denying it: We have a crime problem in Vicksburg and Warren County.

Thankfully, our local law enforcement agencies are partnering with state and federal agencies to ensure the maximum penalty for repeat offenders in the area. Joining other communities like Natchez, Meridian and Jackson, the Vicksburg Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the office of the District Attorney have launched Project Safe Neighborhoods in our area.

The joint task force will specifically target those who commit violent crimes, felony drug offenses or firearm offenses. According to District Attorney Ricky Smith Jr., it’s a chance to ensure the maximum prison sentence possible for those convicted.

Our officers on the ground are routinely fighting drug trafficking, illegal possession and use of firearms and other offenses. Oftentimes, these offenders are young people who think that lifestyle is cool, or offers some sort of credibility.

Hopefully, the threat of serving a significant amount of time in prison will keep potential offenders from getting into trouble with the law.

As Smith said this week, “I don’t think you can be too hard on them” when it comes to those who traffic large amounts of drugs into the community or commit violent offenses.

Serving a more adequate sentence for crimes committed can also deter repeat offenders — sure, their last offense might’ve only yielded a couple years of actual time served, but the next offense could carry a federal sentence and mean more time spent behind bars.

As a supplemental means of fighting crime, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Project Safe Neighborhoods has proven to be effective in other communities around the country, and the citizens of Warren County should be optimistic for the program to come to our area.

We had three shooting deaths in Warren County in 2021. As the new year approaches, let’s work together to prevent senseless violence and deaths.