OUR OPINION: Something’s fishy down on Levee Street

Published 4:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2023

Something’s going on down on Levee Street, but there seem to be more questions than answers concerning recent crime and its proximity to Jacques’ nightclub and the Mulberry.

Beginning with a May 5 incident in which four of the nightclub’s security guards were shot in the parking lot, and ending with a July 5 shooting incident in which more than 100 rounds were fired, it’s putting it mildly to say the troubles aren’t a good look for the businesses nearby or the city of Vicksburg. But who is to blame here, and whose responsibility is it to stop the antics?

Both incidents took place outside the nightclub, which relocated to Levee Street from Washington Street in late 2022 after similar incidents in its previous location. But were the suspects in these incidents patrons of the business? Is there evidence an altercation began inside the business and spilled out into the parking lot, or were the suspects in the parking lot already for other reasons?

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There are clearly marked “No Loitering” signs outside Jacques’ and in the parking lot, and the business has a security team to maintain customer safety. Is it the responsibility of the private security team to remove loiterers, or is that a job for local law enforcement?

The City of Vicksburg issued an ultimatum against the owners of Jacques’ and the Mulberry this week, giving them 10 days to communicate with the Vicksburg Police Department and form an action plan or risk an injunction being filed against them.

If proximity is the only factor in these incidents and the businesses are not directly connected to the people committing the crimes, what good is an injunction against said businesses?

No one expects a bar or nightclub to operate like a Sunday school. On the other hand, no matter how rowdy the clientele may be, no one expects to risk being shot in a parking lot when they want to cut loose on a Friday night.

Whether you believe Jacques’ is the problem here, or that the business is a victim of circumstance and is unfairly targeted, we can all agree there’s a problem.

Someone’s made a mess — but who’s responsible for the clean-up?