Local residents concerned about recent crime

Published 12:48 am Sunday, October 28, 2007

NATCHEZ — Natchez doesn’t feel like the safe little town it used to be, some on the street say.

But statistically, violent crime in the city and county isn’t much higher. And law enforcement officers say things aren’t as bad as they may seem. Natchez is still safe.

“Everybody is just shooting everybody now,” Natchez resident Beth Troutman said.

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Countywide there have been five murders this year.

On March 6, William D. Turner, 26, was shot at his home. Anthony “Tony” Dawson was charged and has pleaded not guilty. The two men were reportedly neighbors who got into a argument.

On Aug. 5 Timothy O’Neal, 19, was shot and killed on Maple Street. Kelvin Mitchell, 26, was charged in the case. The men were acquaintances.

On Aug. 22, Gregory A. Henderson, 20, was shot and killed and another man was injured in an apparent dispute over drugs. No arrest has been made.

On Sept. 29, Pete M. Jackson, 51, was killed on Dumas Drive. His girlfriend Mary McQuarters was arrested the next day.

And most recently Ronnie A. Jones, 30, was killed on Oct. 22 at Village Square Apartments. No arrest has been made.

While some crimes are domestic spats gone bad, much of the crime can be attributed to the violent nature of the drug trade, authorities said.

“Drug arrests go up every year,” Sheriff Ronny Brown said.

Waldrop was quick to point out though that Natchez is safe.

“People should not be afraid,” he said. “But they should be cautious. Be aware of your surroundings,” he said.

Waldrop said that in the not so distant past people could have left their doors and cars unlocked.

He now advises against that.

“Community policing is a critical thing,” Brown said.

Brown said that community cooperation can aid authorities in lowering crime in any areas.