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Past time to rein in crime in Mississippi

Crime appears to be on the rise in recent days in Natchez and Adams County.

A young man was gunned down on Lamar Street in broad daylight on Sunday, Feb. 8, and last Sunday a man in a pool hall on Minor Street allegedly shot an acquaintance after an argument.

On Monday, teens took a joy ride in a car that police said had been stolen from a business’ parking lot on Sunday night.

After police witnessed the vehicle traveling the wrong direction on one-way Main Street, the officer pulled the car over on Homochitto Street and the occupants, some nine or 10 juveniles, fled on foot and officers chased them down through the neighborhoods along South Rankin, Washington and South Union streets. As of Tuesday, all of the juveniles have been apprehended and are being handled through the juvenile justice system.

Civilized society has laws to maintain order, keep the peace and protect individuals’ rights, but our justice system is broken. It is not just a Natchez problem or an Adams County problem.

Other similar communities throughout the state are also experiencing crime as well. The state’s prison system has been underfunded and neglected too long, resulting in a low prosecution rate and short prison sentences. And prosecutors are hamstrung by a backlog of evidence in the underfunded state crime lab. Violence in the prison system late last year and earlier this year have brought the prison problems to the attention of state Legislators who at last might actually do something about.

In the meantime, law enforcement and prosecutors can only do so much. It is up to individuals to look out for ourselves and to take precautions with our properties and when we are out and about. If you see something, say something to law enforcement and help them protect us.

Parents should pay attention to their children and keep them in line.

We implore the Legislature to resolve the state’s prison and justice system crisis.