Guest Editorial: Mike Hurst states Jackson is experiencing 'an historic epidemic of violence’

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - I’m Mike Hurst, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. As the Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer for over half of our state, it is my job to keep our citizens safe, including the City of Jackson.

Our Capital City is a wonderful place with incredible people, outstanding museums, fantastic restaurants, and world-renowned artists.

However, Jackson is currently experiencing an historic epidemic of violence, with 106 murders in just the first 9 ½ months of 2020, the most ever in the city’s history. At this rate, Jackson could potentially witness 128 murders by the end of the year, with a murder rate almost three times higher than Chicago.

This is absolutely unacceptable. In order to stop the killings and protect our citizens, we must have sufficient law enforcement and strong city leadership. The good men and women of the Jackson Police Department are doing all they can, but they have been defunded, demoralized, and underpaid.

Jackson leaders must find a way to beef up our local law enforcement, enact policies that respect and value their work, and pay them commensurate with the dangerous jobs they do.

Under the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s initiative Project EJECT, we have been working closely with JPD and other law enforcement over the past three years to combat violent crime in Jackson. This includes not only record numbers of federal prosecutions, but also prevention work in our schools, reentry work to help released offenders, and awareness work involving the community.

We have also made prosecuting domestic abusers with guns a priority, and I have personally been advocating the Attorney General of the United States for additional federal agents to be sent Jackson to help reduce violent crime.

Because of the tenacity, spirit and character of Jacksonians and the people of Mississippi, I truly believe that Jackson’s best days are still ahead of it, and that our City with Soul will rise as a beacon of hope and promise throughout the South.

Join us in this fight. Get involved in your communities. Speak out in your neighborhoods. And together, we can all make Jackson, our Capital City, better and safer for everyone.

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