Thankfully, crime plan is in the works

Published 12:07 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

The sound of citizens crying for help from the growing level of crime in the community is becoming louder by the minute.

On Tuesday, business owners who formed a Natchez bar association — the drinking kind, not the legal kind — last spring met with the Natchez Board of Aldermen to seek more help.

Interestingly, no representative of the Natchez Police Department appeared to be present at the meeting. If NPD leaders knew about the meeting, but simply chose not to attend, that indicates a new low in the standards of leadership at the NPD.

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If no one was there because no one from the mayor and board of aldermen invited them, that would indicate poor communication or an utter lack of faith in the NPD by the city’s own leadership.

Either option isn’t pretty.

Fortunately, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield attended the meeting and pointed out that a first step in reducing the crime problem could be as simple as aggressive enforcement of loitering laws.

Mayfield’s point makes sense.

If crime is occurring when large groups of people are outside loitering around late at night, then let’s break up the groups and that should reduce crime.

In the process of checking the individuals in the groups, it’s possible that other crimes may be uncovered, too.

The second step — and one that the bar owners suggested — convince the judicial side of the equation to start locking up lawbreakers and throwing away the key.

Next month, the groups will meet again and invite the local judges to attend.

We applaud the latest efforts to find common ground on the crime problem. Natchez is too great of a community to allow a few thugs to ruin it for the rest of us.