Shedding light on crime issue important for community

Published 7:10 am Wednesday, February 2, 2022

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Dear Editor,

I am writing to compliment The Democrat for elevating concern over crime in Natchez. If it were not for Michael Boykin’s willingness to step forward and The Democrat’s article on his experience (Sunday, January 23, 2022), the subject may have continued without much debate.

The debate was fueled by the mayor’s chastising The Democrat and Mr. Boykin in the paper and publicly at the BOA meeting when he could have listened and offered a compassionate response.

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After reading about Mr. Boykin’s experience, I can understand why he believes that Natchez is a dangerous city. How many of us would not agree that if what he described was going on in our backyard for over a year and then have a couple of bullets run through your house would not proclaim it as a dangerous situation? It sounds like the police have been totally ineffective in helping him.

If Natchez does not have a crime problem, then why has the PD established SWAT and VIPER units? Why did WLBT run back to back stories on the 6 pm news this past weekend about Natchez PD arresting two murder suspects followed by Chief Daughtry reporting yet another shooting? The WLBT report did more harm for our image than a series of articles in The Democrat. In both cases, the truth hurts.

Credit is due the mayor, BOA and Natchez PD for making strides toward addressing the problem by getting the necessary personnel and resources. But they need to be up front with Natchez residents in admitting to a problem that they are working hard to address. Crime is an issue that affects everyone, and one that we should all work to address. I am confident that Natchez will be in a better place sooner rather than later.

The Democrat has been more than generous in giving the mayor ample space in the newspaper by printing the From the Mayor’s Desk series and a constant string of positive articles that deservingly applaud and promote his work for Natchez over the 1.5 years.

You were also correct in printing a well-written Your Opinion article “How do we move forward as a community?”

Citizens’ willingness to speak out, leaders who are willing to listen and work to address problems, and good journalism that reports the news and provides a forum for healthy debate will help Natchez move forward in a positive way.

Thanks, and stay the course!

Bob Strader

Natchez resident