JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – This week the Jackson Police Department released its 2015 enforcement report. The numbers have gone down in some areas, but they are still alarming.
There were 8,939 total felony crimes in 2014. That’s a 2% reduction. In 2015 those crimes went down by 17% with 7,432 felony crimes. As Chief Vance addressed the crowd he could barely contain his excitement. He made it clear though that this not an announcement of victory, rather a celebration of progress. Chief Vance admits his department is facing a challenge, but they aren’t giving up on making things better.
With his colleges by his side police Chief Lee Vance led a prayer. Petitioning God to offer grace on the city of Jackson.
“We asked for help and help was received,” Chief Vance said. “This was simply an opportunity for is to give a public acknowledgement that we received help and that we are thankful to the Creator for it.”
The prayer meetings started one year ago As a way to add spirituality to the equation, while trying to figure out how to better the city.
Some say the prayers are needed now more than ever. While there was a 17 percent reduction in felony crimes, that still equals out to almost 20 a day. CVance says his focus is on making a difference.
This is by no means a declaration of victory,” Chief Vance said. “What the numbers represent is an affirmation that the tactics we use are having some positive affect. Our job is not done until we have little or no crime at all.”
Already that goal is being challenged in 2016. News years day the members of Alexis Episcopal Church were added to the list of victims targeted by the crime plaguing the city.
They had taken electronics and some kitchen stuff, a little bit of money, although there wasn’t much. It’s going to run to about 2500 dollars,” Priest, Chuck Culpepper said.
In the 8 years the church had been there, there were no problems before this one.
It’s just the idea of the space being invaded by someone with a bad purpose. We aren’t used to that.” Culpepper said.
The Church leader says he too is hopeful for change. He also finds comfort in knowing that the police are learning on God for a breakthrough.
I believe in the power of prayer and so we will join with them in prayers for Jackson,” Culpepper said. “We want to be here. We want to be a part of the redevelopment of downtown Jackson. I would say that we have been praying ever since this burglary for those who broke into this church. Praying that God will touch their hearts and turn their lives around.”
Chief Vance says however you look at it, the point is, there has been a positive change. Whether or not your faith aligns with this group, he’s hoping others will join in the celebration of change.
“A 17% reduction. I don’t even think our harshest critics could argue that a number like that represents a significant amount of progress and that’s what we want to have,” Chief Vance said. “Again this doesn’t mean victory, but it’s progress.”
The investigation into this church robbery is still open. In Jackson, There has been a decrease in crimes in all of the precincts. There have also been big drops in auto burglaries, auto thefts and grand larcenies.