Flaggs addresses critics of crime, police force in Vicksburg

Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. addressed critics of the City and the Vicksburg Police Department at Wednesday’s Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce luncheon, saying city residents are safer now than they’ve ever been.

He also told the city’s critics to stop picking on Police Chief Penny Jones.

“Pick on me,” he said.

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Crime has been an ongoing topic for Flaggs’ critics, some of whom claim the city is unsafe and the police and the Board of Aldermen are not doing enough to combat crime in Vicksburg.

The mayor’s comments Wednesday followed criticism of his comments about crime at the start of Monday’s meeting of the board.

“There are some crimes that you can’t stop,” he said Monday. “The kind of crime we’re having is an emotional thing and how people respond; it’s domestic in nature. The perpetrator and the victim know each other.”

What the city does not have, Flaggs said, “Is crime against your brother. That means that you’re randomly committed to the act of violence.”

He said the cameras installed by the city are one tool to deter and prevent crime in the city but added, “You can’t put a camera in every house.”

Flaggs also said city officials are going to do what’s necessary to minimize crime in the city, “and I think the best way to do it is to continue to enhance our education system, create jobs and job opportunities.”

He said most of the crimes are being committed by young men between the ages of 23 and 27 who have no regard for the law. He called on the churches to help and urged residents to report a crime if they see it.

“We all have to work at this together; the home and the schools and the churches and community organizations,” Flaggs said. “We’re going to do this, no matter what the naysayers say. We’re going to do what we’ve got to do.”

On Wednesday, Flaggs said he discussed the city’s situation with one critic.

“What I was trying to get him to understand is, the city is safer than it’s ever been,” Flaggs said after the chamber meeting. “What’s going on was domestic crime and people knowing their victim and that’s different than random crime.

“When I can go downtown and see a mother walking a baby in a baby stroller at night, or when I can see a lady coming up Halls Ferry at night, particularly 8:30, 9 o’clock walking a dog, that’s safe,” he said.

Flaggs told the chamber members he takes crime “As seriously as I take every fight with my body. I’m the most passionate man you have ever seen in your life about this city. I love this city and I take all the blame for anything that is wrong in the city. Now we’re better.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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