Residents, council members split on potential relocation of JPD Precinct 4

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - City officials are looking to move the Jackson Police Department’s Precinct 4 to the former Batte Furniture store off Northside Drive.

Some residents who live by the precinct’s current location fear the move will bring more crime to their neighborhoods.

“Mainly, the worry is that the lack of visibility in the area might mean an increase in crime or response time,” President of the Heatherwood Homeowners Association Annalisa Blanchard said.

Others think it would cut down on crime in theirs.

“Decreasing our racing to decreasing crime,” Fondren North Neighborhood Association Board Member Chris Wilbourn said. “Just having that presence in our neighborhood and keeping our community safe all the time.”

For years, Precinct 4 has been in the Colonial Mart shopping center along Parkway Drive. Blanchard said the thought of it moving worries residents in the area.

“The traffic on old Canton Road and Northside Drive can be a little bit much and so thinking that they’ll have to wait through that to get to our areas gives us a little bit of concern.”

Wilbourn said moving the precinct to the Batte Furniture building would help cut down on street racing along Northside Drive and possibly attract more officers.

“Chief Davis has, you know, expressed that we are understaffed some and that they’re working on trying to bring in more people and I think having newer facilities, nicer facilities, larger facilities, that stuff that people want to see when they go to work.”

There’s also split between city council members. Councilman Ashby Foote said yesterday that residents along Old Canton Road are concerned after hearing increasing gun shots in the area recently.

“There has been a lot of activity that has really made citizens nervous,” he said. “They want (the precinct) to stay right where it is.”

Councilman Kenneth Stokes said he understands those concerns but that the three-story, 14,000 square foot building could provide more than just the precinct.

“We don’t want to pick one area, or one community, or one ward against another ward because of crime,” he said. “I think these officers would get there timely but I think it’s a better fit for the whole city in terms of all the services now we could offer at this location.”

Stokes said, as of now, the city has not officially purchased the building.

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