Vicksburg Crime addressed at Mayor’s Q&A session

Published 4:57 pm Friday, June 16, 2023

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. hosted a public question-and-answer session about crime on Thursday evening at the Robert M. Walker building in downtown Vicksburg. 

First, Vicksburg Police Chief Penny Jones addressed concerns about the increase in homicides from three last year to eight homicides only halfway into this year. She began by comparing statistics of Jackson and Vicksburg homicides for the year.

“So right now, today, 2023, Jackson is at 45. They hit 45 this morning,” she said. “We’re at eight. I hope we stay at eight. I hope we don’t go any further than eight, but I can’t predict that.”

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Jones pointed out that the majority of Vicksburg’s homicides were domestic violence incidents.

“We’re responding to domestic violence calls almost on a daily basis. In fact, last year, our numbers were in (the) 300s. I think we had 321 or 329. There are only 365 days out of the year,” she said. “So if we responded to that many domestic calls, that means something was going on every day involving domestic violence.”

She added that there is little law enforcement can do in cases of domestic violence in terms of prevention.

“When somebody wants to hurt somebody that they love, there’s nothing that you could say. You could tell your loved one all day long, ‘Hey, you need to leave him alone, you need to stay away from him.’ You can get protection orders, you can do everything you want to do,” Jones said. “But when a person makes up their mind that they’re going to commit that crime of domestic violence and kill you, there’s nothing we can do.”

One citizen who attended the meeting asked if many of the guns used in violent crimes in Vicksburg are stolen. Jones responded that many of them are weapons stolen from unlocked vehicles.

“A lot of the reason why we have a lot of guns out on the street, we have worked so many calls where we responded to someone who has left their vehicle unlocked,” she said. “We know that they’re young kids, so they are getting in cars. And I just wish people would really think about it when they get out of the car. Lock the door, lock the door, lock the door. You know, you’ve done your job.”

The new Project NOLA cameras currently being installed around the city were also discussed.

Flaggs pointed out that he believes the cameras are not terribly useful in preventing crime, but do have the added benefit of quicker response and better evidence collection.

“I’m telling you, the cameras are helping,” he said. “They don’t stop murder. I’m telling you, what they do is have a quick response to murder.”

Currently, the city has 12 cameras but several dozen more are scheduled to be installed over the course of the year.