JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There have been 55 murders so far this year in Jackson. Nine in the month of June. In our exclusive one-on-one with Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba we discuss homicides, gang activity, the $40 million dollars to be used for street improvements and whether Sweetie Pie's is still heading to the Capital City.
So far, in this month, there have been no murders in Jackson.
Mayor Lumumba said, "While we’re not declaring victory and we know that there’s much, much more work to be done, that we’re near a month without a homicide in the City of Jackson.”
Mayor Lumumba says he meets with Police Chief James Davis and work is always underway to deal with crime in the Capital City.
“The Police Chief and I meet every week, and when we meet we talk about the statistics, the data, what is our response time to calls, where are we seeing the frequent occurrences and what are our strategies and what is going to be our approach to show more presence in that area. What are the repeat offenders,” Mayor Lumumba said.
We also discussed gang activity and continued concerns from the public - especially with gang fights at the Hinds County Detention Center.
Mayor Lumumba said, “The presence of gangs within detention centers or prisons is certainly not a new thing. I think that they are ever present within those institutions. So, I’m not saying that we don’t have some level of gang activity in the City of Jackson, I would just say that that is anecdotal to me right now and I don’t have the data to support that.”
A big financial boost for street improvements with an agreement passed last week with the One Percent Tax Commission.
“To the tune of 40 million dollars to be placed solely on roads is the largest, the largest package of resources that we’ve ever provided to roads in the City of Jackson’s history,” Mayor Lumumba said.
Mayor Lumumba says a partnership with the county has helped improve conditions on neighborhood streets. In a few weeks upgrades will be made to Northside Drive, Ellis Avenue, Capitol Street and Robinson Road.
“We have 14 streets that are in the queue right now and then once we get the 40 million dollars we will be able to do a blitz of our major thoroughfares,” said Mayor Lumumba.
It was quite a buzz when rumors were confirmed a year ago that nationally known soul food chain Sweetie Pie’s would open in downtown Jackson. We asked the Mayor if the plan is still on.
Mayor Lumumba said, “It’s never risen to the level of my office that I’m involved in the details of when that’s happening. As far as I know they’re still coming.”
Mayor Lumumba says he is excited and supportive of the growth in downtown Jackson but remains determined to see economic growth spread throughout the entire city.
“We don’t want to see an island of wealth surrounded by a sea of poverty, and so we’re looking at how we can extend this growth, how we allow this tidal wave to lift all boats," said Mayor Lumumba.