Analysis: Mississippi’s homicide rate ranks highest in the nation

Nearly one-fourth of state’s homicides took place in the Capital City
Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 7:59 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s homicide rate outpaces every other state in the U.S., according to an analysis of data from the state’s crime lab and the most recent yearly compilations of data on killings from the National Center for Health Statistics.

The Magnolia State has a rate of 15 per 100,000 people, higher than its neighbors Louisiana (13.3) and Alabama (12.2).

While those rates for other states are from 2018 and represent a full year, they are the most recent numbers available for comparison.

Since 2020 began, 447 people have been killed in Mississippi, an average of one person every fifteen hours.

Nearly one-fourth of the state’s homicides took place in Jackson.

Jackson resident Shaneika Green knows that all too well.

Her son Tramaine and half-brother Walter Hart Jr. were both gunned down just a few weeks apart.

“A child is different than burying your mother, your father, your cousin like that. When you bury a child, you lose a whole piece of your soul. You can’t get that back," Green said. “I know it’s been three months and people figure I’m supposed to be over it. But in reality, I’m never going to be over it.”

Green said from her perspective, these senseless killings are from people who don’t know how to resolve their differences any other way, particularly young people.

“If you talk it out like adults and everything, it could be handled, but just to kill somebody, because you get into an argument with them, that’s ridiculous,” Green said. "I mean, it’s just, you know, it don’t make no sense.”

The head of Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety, Commissioner Sean Tindell, told lawmakers in late September that the state’s homicide rate had increased 41 percent over the last five years and expected more than 500 homicides before 2020 ends.

“The homicide rate has increased and we’re looking at a large number of homicides this year. And so with that, there are additional autopsies have to be done and we’ve got to find ways that we’re doing those in a timely manner," Tindell told 3 On Your Side in an October 6 interview.

In the meantime, Green waits for justice for her son and hopes the violence will end.

“They just shoot for no reason, basically. I have to stay here and put up with the violence and try to keep my other kids safe," Green said. "And make sure nothing happens to them.”

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