JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Although Jackson’s homicide numbers are currently down compared to this time last year, some say it’s not enough and believe any homicide in the Magnolia State hurts its citizens.
“We have to be for more policing in these vulnerable areas. We have to get tough on violent criminals. We have got to stop catch and release,” said State Auditor, Shad White.
Increased police presence, harsher prison sentences, and making sure criminals stay behind bars were the topics of discussion at River Hills Country Club Thursday afternoon.
Alongside White was Rafael Mangual, an author from New York, who visited Jackson to preach about crime statistics and examples of what can happen when a convicted felon gets too many chances.
“With every single bite of the apple we give to a repeat offender, what we are doing is essentially rolling the dice, but we’re not rolling the dice with our own lives, we’re rolling the dice with the lives of people who are not as fortunate as some of us in this room are,” said Mangual.
Some may have questioned why White was at the discussion conference to begin with, but like most things in life, money is involved.
“For each new homicide that happens in the state of Mississippi, that homicide costs taxpayers in the state between $900,000 and $1.2 million per homicide. That’s coming out of your pocket, whether you live in a crime prone area or not,” said White.
Those are some pretty staggering numbers when you realize Jackson alone accounted for 138 of those homicides in 2022.
“For the last two years, WLBT has reported that the city of Jackson, where were sitting right now. The city of Jackson has the highest number of per capita homicides of any major metro-area in the United States. It’s a tragic fact and most of us know it,” said White.
3 On Your Side asked White if the timing of this discussion had to do with House Bill 1020 being passed two weeks ago. While he said it was “planned well in advance,” HB-1020 passing was “convenient” towards Thursday’s agenda.