‘Vital links’ to crime problem absent

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Although I have not read every article verbatim about the mayor’s crime summit meetings, I feel that I know the gist of them.

It is known to many of us as a political grandstanding, that is, making an appearance to be concerned and make an effort to do something about a particular issue just for show.

To make my case, I suggest to you that in none of these meetings have there been mention of judges and the city and county prosecutors in attendance. These people are a vital link in the control of crime because it is a proven statistic that 65 percent of all criminals are repeat offenders. Stop those criminals after the second crime and you can cut crime by 65 percent. It is just that simple.

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I am afraid the judges and prosecutors are more worried about re-election than crime and punishment.

I offer as proof the fact that in a recent Natchez Democrat edition there was an article about the crime meeting, but just below it on the same page was an article about an armed robbery. The perpetrator, it turns out had been arrested 18 times prior to this crime. How many votes does it cost for a get out of jail free card?

Mayor West and the aldermen can put up more lights, hire more police officers or do whatever they want, but if the criminals are back on the street before the police report is even finished, how is that going to stop crime?

Another recent Natchez Democrat article reported that a criminal was arrested in connection with the manufacture of methamphetamines, an illegal drug. This arrest was effected while the criminal was out on bond for another illegal drug charge. I’ll bet he’ll get out on bond again.

And I wonder where he got $100,000 to post as bond, or was that reduced by the judge so he could afford to get out and continue his criminal activities?

The judges may say that sentencing and bonds are set by state law, but after the first arrest the judge has discretionary powers to be flexible or increase sentences and bond at each additional arrest.

W. Byron Garrity Jr.

Natchez resident