Federal agents headed to Vicksburg after alarming spike in gun violence

Federal agents headed to Vicksburg after alarming spike in gun violence

VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - Vicksburg leaders say federal agents are coming in to make the city a safer place to live and work.

The FBI Violent Crimes Task Force is partnering with Vicksburg police to target illegal guns, crime and drugs on the streets.

The alarming spike in gun violence is something Vicksburg police officers have been working to combat. Now they hope the new FBI partnership will increase their efforts to make the city safer.

“Hopefully, they will have some resources available that they can speed up the process for trying these criminals and catching them,” said Vicksburg resident Peggy Fulghum. “We need to keep Vicksburg safe, not just for city and citizens, but the visitors. The city of Vicksburg is a major tourist stop.”

According to Vicksburg police, there were 11 homicides last year and four are still not solved. There have also been more than a dozen shootings this year.

The FBI Violent Crimes Task Force is partnering with the Vicksburg Police Department’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) to help identify and prosecute those responsible for committing violent crime and illegal street gang activity.

“We have to do it another way,” said Vicksburg NAACP President Bobbie Bingham Morrow.

Morrow says she has concerns about the feds coming and just locking up people, especially young people.

“Our children, I just feel like this is a target to fill up the detention center and that is not something I want,” said Morrow.

Morrow would like to see more organizations join forces with law enforcement to decrease crime.

“I mean, they are citizens and they are people and they need care and some of them can’t afford their care, so I am hesitant and reluctant mainly because other organizations that can be very helpful are not coming in.”

Other Vicksburg residents feel this partnership will combine resources and intelligence to catch criminals get repeat offenders off the streets.

“The FBI is a preeminent law-enforcement agency in the United States if not the entire world, and so if the Vicksburg Police Department can draw from the resources of the FBI, I think that’s a good idea,” Vicksburg resident Kevin Mahoney said.

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