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Operation Safe Corners Task Force targets the homeless panhandling in Jackson

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 8:24 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Panhandling among the homeless in Jackson is getting the attention of the Hinds County authorities and JPD.

They are teaming up address concerns many have expressed about the requests for money on busy streets.

Thursday, the District 2 supervisor joined the interim sheriff and JPD chief to announce a plan to address the issue they said is increasing throughout the city and county.

A fence is being erected beneath the overpass at I-55 Frontage Road and Canton Mart Road where the homeless seek shelter and ask for money. It’s a move to stop the increasing number of people entering traffic and loitering.

Motorists in the Jackson-metro area are familiar with men and women holding signs asking for money. The Operation Safe Corner Task Force is now working to rid the streets of panhandling. The task force was started last year but has now begun operations.

Their plan is to find community partners throughout the tri-county area to help find them permanent housing and counseling and rehabilitation for the mentally ill and drug users.

“You may think that you’re helping someone but you’re actually feeding their drug problem, their alcohol problem and they come out and now they’re working shifts,” said task for chair District 2 Supervisor David L. Archie.

Jackson Police Chief James Davis said the objective is to stop the growing homeless problem and panhandling and crimes associated with them.

“We’re receiving calls from the citizens,” said Davis. “We’re witnessing sites where there’s drug paraphernalia and we’ve got to do what we can to clean up Jackson and Hinds County.”

Following Thursday’s news conference on the task force, a fence was being built at another Jackson underpass where the homeless find shelter - often leaving debris.

The barrier and No Public Access signs are now located to deter loitering in the area.

“It‘s been going on too long. It’s affecting our business community all up and down the I-55 corridor,” said Hinds County Interim Sheriff Marshand Crisler. “It’s costing us millions of dollars. So we’re gonna make sure that we make this a priority because we know that’s what generates the revenue.”

Law enforcement plans heightened patrols and arrests for impeding traffic, panhandling and loitering.

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