JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is looking for innovative ways to deal with crime in the Capital City.
The Mayor discussed water theft and the investigation that has led to multiple arrests including some city employees.
He also tells us about his hopes for a Credible Messenger Program and how it may deescalate volatile and dangerous situations.
Credible Messenger Programs are used throughout the nation.
Neighborhood and community leaders, advocates and those with relevant life experiences work together on attitudes and behavior that lead to crime.
“It is an effort to put people in a position to deal with the psychology of what’s happening to relate and say, listen, you know, let’s talk about this. Let’s deescalate this circumstance,” said Mayor Lumumba.
Mayor Lumumba says the program has seen great success.
“Washington, D.C. gave an effort towards this. This is what Stockton, California, was able to reduce it’s crime by over sixty-eight percent. And the list goes on, New York," Mayor Lumumba said.
The mayor says it will take training and time to implement the Credible Messenger Program. His sister Rukia Lumumba is working with the city.
Mayor Lumumba said, “You have to make certain that you are educating people, that they know, cause they’re going into extremely dangerous circumstances, not high risk circumstances, the highest risk of circumstances in order to deescalate those things, deescalate those conflicts. And so we’ve been working to get them there and we’re proud of the progress."
There have been multiple arrests in Jackson’s ongoing water theft investigation. Some of those arrested were city employees.
"I think it’s inexcusable to take advantage of people. I mean, there are circumstances where people have tried to barter for other things even beyond money,” Mayor Lumumba said.
Mayor Lumumba says this is not a victim-less crime.
"The accuracy of our bills. We know the whole Siemans circumstance. And so when we have people who are taking advantage of the circumstance in that regard, then it just places a huge, a much more sizable burden on the citizens,” Mayor Lumumba said.
The Mayor also gave us an update on the City’s Real Time Command Center and the three-million-dollars needed to add more cameras throughout Jackson.
“This is something we presented to our legislative delegation, and it appears to be supported. What I’m getting is more and more requests from different people to have cameras in certain areas. We’re doing what we can, but we have not received any support on this. So, Jackson is putting forward the money on its own where we can find, where we can scrape and make it happen.”