Is Natchez becoming ‘Little Chicago’?

Published 11:44 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2017


n Chicago, at the end of 2016, there had been over 4,300 shootings, resulting in an all time record high 762 deaths.. More  homicides than New York and Los Angeles combined. There were 11 homicides just over that Christmas weekend. As of June 30th of this year, 335 people have been killed.  We don’t want Chicago’s relative statistics here in Natchez.

Natchez, with its population of about 15,000 people, boast it has the river, antebellum homes and its people! One would get the impression, its people don’t like each other very much. Each week one can pick up the local daily newspaper and read headlines such as, Murder trial set for today, Friday’s shooting victim dies, Watson serves 25 years for shooting, Judge orders maximum sentence for shooting or Police dispute leads to shooting or this one. Youth and Guns: Does area have a problem? The answer is a resounding, Yes!

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Quite a bit has been written about Natchez’s rising crime but always seems to fall on deaf ears. In January of this year, a fictitious satire was written in a local bi-monthly newspaper. It was purposely written in a most ridiculous and absurd manner, in an effort to gain the attention of our local elected and appointed officials, our law enforcement agencies, the general public and the readers, to the fact that we have an ever growing crime problem in Natchez. The ridiculous satire was a fictitious way of “ridding” Natchez of gang related crime. It was about gang-bangers killing each other off, as a way of ridding the gang problem in Natchez.

It turned out, some of the elected officials and some of the public readers saw racism in the ridiculous satire and was only interested  in killing (not really) the “messenger” who wrote the article  and not doing anything about stopping the Natchez crime. As far as crime itself, there has been no real outburst, no marching in the street for change, no protest denouncing these senseless shootings and other crimes in Natchez. It’s like, “leave things the way they are!”  Just last week, it started out as an outdoor basketball game, there were four shotgun blasts, resulting in two people, a male and a female, being shot.  Then only two days later, Saturday night and Sunday morning, there were 6 different shootings in Natchez, resulting in one person being killed. There have been at least four people killed in Natchez-Adams county this year.

The violence does not just stay in the street.  About two weeks ago, what was no doubt learned in the street, was brought into Natchez High School where 10 students were arrested by the Natchez Police Department  for fighting.  These kinds of actions happen when the perpetrators feel there is no deterrent in place or they have no respect for the Judicial System or they think they will not be held accountable for their actions.

Curbing violence and a desire to learn, start at home with two parents, structure, discipline, good values, church, respect for authority, ambition and manners.  If one possesses these characteristics, one can learn, stay out of trouble and be a success.

To help stop these senseless killings and other felony crimes, there needs to be a public outcry to denounce these criminal activities.  People are scratching their heads wondering where is the general public’s anger and opposition over these killings and crime in Natchez? When is enough, really enough, before the public decides to demand accountability  from themselves, their family, their neighbors and their elected officials? Because, if it all stays on the same course, we will continue to see more “For Sale” signs going up and more “telltale” signs of “Little Chicago” going in.
Henry Watts is an Natchez and Adams County resident.