JPD reports 120 percent increase in carjackings, 55 percent increase in homicides in 2020

Jamya Lewis was rushed to UofL Hospital Wednesday where she died around 11:30 p.m., making her...
Jamya Lewis was rushed to UofL Hospital Wednesday where she died around 11:30 p.m., making her death the 149th homicide of the year.(Unsplash)
Updated: Dec. 21, 2020 at 1:50 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Officials with the Jackson Police Department (JPD) say they’re implementing strategies to help get crime down after seeing numbers rise across the board in 2020.

JPD reports double-digit increases in homicides, aggravated assaults and carjackings, and a six-percent increase in cases of armed robberies.

Crime stats were discussed at the Jackson City Council’s Law Enforcement Ad-Hoc Committee meeting Monday.

This year, the city has seen a 120 percent increase in carjackings, a 50 percent increase in aggravated assaults, and a 55 percent increase in homicides over 2019, according to Assistant Police Chief Joseph Wade.

According to figures, 655 aggravated assaults have been reported this year through December 20, 2020, compared to 434 through the same period in 2019.

JPD figures also show 123 homicides have occurred this year, compared to 79 last year.

Meanwhile, 118 carjackings are being reported, more than double the 53 called in to police in 2019.

As for armed robberies, 200 have occurred so far in 2020, slightly more than the 188 that occurred last year.

Numbers, though, were not up across the board. Cases of business robberies fell by about 28 percent, going from 53 in 2019 to 38 this year, figures from the police department show.

Wade said the department is putting together strategies to fight the problem. At the same time, he blames the increase on several factors, including the COVID-19 outbreak, unemployment, and other factors.

The department is also facing a shortage of officers. Right now, JPD has 289 sworn officers and 191 that are currently active. Currently, some officers are on military leave, are on administrative leave or modified duty, or cannot work because of injuries.

He said crime has increased across the country this year, including in similar-size cities.

“A lot of people, when they are frustrated, don’t know how to deal with the situation without (turning) to violence,” Wade said, adding that many of the crimes reported this year are among “domestic-related” and occur between individuals who know each other.

He’s hopeful for the future, though, saying that the Real-Time Command Center (RTCC) is already helping JPD in recording incidents - data that will be used in capturing and convicting offenders.

“It’s essentially our eyes in the sky,” Wade said, referring to the crime center. “There are several situations where it’s observed robberies and aggravated assaults. It will be a tremendous tool for us as we go into 2021.”

The department is also putting in place a robbery detail to address crime at gas stations, dollar stores, and other businesses that are open at unusual hours.

JPD also is working to crack down on criminal activity at hotels and motels.

Wade said several criminals set up headquarters at local hotels. He said when investigating some crimes, the department has found that some hotels are not licensed to operate in the city.

“We are working with the planning department to address those problems,” he said.

Meanwhile, the planning department is working to install LED lights along major thoroughfares in the city and to install additional light poles at various spots in Jackson, according to Safiya Omari, chief of staff for Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

Said Omari, “That work is ongoing.”

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