Residents look for solutions to area’s crime problem

Published 12:14 am Friday, November 9, 2007

NATCHEZ — It will take effort from residents and law enforcement alike to address crime problems, community members said Thursday night.

Approximately 30 people attended the city’s second community meeting on crime.

The group met at Prince Street Daycare.

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Reports of drug activity, loitering and burglary were among the top concerns.

Residents from the surrounding neighborhoods suggested installing more streetlights and increasing police patrols.

Some residents asked police officials why they weren’t patrolling the area as much. Police Chief Mike Mullins said they were shorthanded because of officers injured, in training and serving military duty.

Some residents thought they could take action, too.

“If we’re going be out of town, we can put timers on lights, make it look like someone’s home,” Charles Price said. “Put motion sensor lights on front porch.”

Ora Frazier suggested that, along with better lighting, a direct approach might help eliminate the problems.

“We have to let these people know that we care about them, show some kind of compassion to them,” she said.

Frazier said speaks to those loitering on the street on a regular basis. Recently, she had what she thought was a fire in her house. Those same people were the first to jump to her aid, she said.

Mayor Phillip West suggested creating fliers to let both residents and those causing problems know that the neighborhoods would not tolerate problems anymore. Also, a neighborhood association would be vital to addressing the problem, he said.

Mullins suggested the area host a block party to kick off the effort.

A handful of those in attendance volunteered to head a committee to organize events and create the fliers.

Another such community meeting will be in approximately a month to follow up on progress and plan for future activities.