Church surrounded by blight and crime pleads for help from the city

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:13 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A Jackson church struggling to survive in the community is surrounded by burned and decaying houses.

The small congregation is afraid to hold services at night and wants city leaders to transform the area.

Lane Chapel C.M.E. Church is located on Fontaine Avenue in Virden Addition. Reverend Laura Powell said the church has been burglarized six times in three years.

Burglar bars were stolen from the windows, the sanctuary was ransacked, and the freezer and food, audio equipment, and more were taken.

The property is often littered with beer bottles and drug paraphernalia.

“It seems as though you know people are disregarding the house of the Lord now,” said Powell. “It’s all about what they can get and what they can do with what, a lot of the things that were stolen were things that can be pawned or used at their homes.”

Powell turned to the Jackson City Council for help with demolishing burned and decaying houses and cleaning debris. Desire Brown and Nierra Robinson live in Virden Addition and want more police patrols for the area to stop the crime.

“Help us help our community. Help us help people that are trying to do something positive in the neighborhood,” said Brown. “So we can make it a better place because when I was little it once didn’t look like this.”

“Nothing but crime and murder, murder and more fear,” said Robinson of the conditions in the community. “Nothing positive like she said. We’re just hoping today or any day that we can all come together and be heard.”

Jackson Director of Planning and Development Chloe Dotson said Powell should contact Code Enforcement so they can develop a strategy to address the violations in the area.

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