A safer city – Natchez deserves more

Published 1:04 pm Sunday, May 14, 2023

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Recent headlines about crime have been heartbreaking. While we continue to work so hard to create a safer city, incidents have happened recently beyond our control, and the loss of two teenagers just last week during a shooting outside a local nightclub has been hard to take. Other recent events have been concerning, and I want to publicly express my grief and compassion to those who have been affected. Our prayers are with you, and to the parents of these victims please know we grieve your loss.

I want to commend our police who have been working tirelessly to solve crime. In many cases, they will not go home until their work is done and arrests are made. Their fast action in solving the shooting that occurred last Friday night was commendable, and two alleged murderers are now off the street and a national search is underway for the third one. And now arrested, these alleged murderers had best stay in jail where they belong.

I am grateful for the growing partnership between our Natchez Police Department and the Adams County Sheriff’s Department. Much progress is being made. I am so proud of our Chief, Cal Green, and her team of dedicated officers. And we appreciate Sheriff Travis Patten and his many deputies for their help in fighting and solving crime.

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In support of their efforts, we are going to step up our commitment to help even more: installing more cameras, improving lighting in our neighborhoods, and building upon our relationships with other agencies, not only in surrounding areas, but at the state level and beyond. It is time to call on these partners even more, from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation all the way up to the Department of Justice.

Crime Stoppers is an important piece of our strategy. Getting this program going again in our community has proven to be invaluable, and anyone calling the Southwest Mississippi Regional Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-888-442-5001 can rest assured that their identity will be kept confidential and, if their tip leads to a conviction, they will receive reward money.

Despite these efforts, however, it is disheartening to know that there are so many in our community who have information that could save lives and who are reluctant to share it. In my opinion, withholding that information is akin to a crime in and of itself.  We need your information to make our city safer. And it is the duty of every citizen to report crime when they have knowledge of it. Period. Call Crime Stoppers. Or simply call 911. It’s that easy.

I do have questions regarding our judicial system. Time and again, I hear of individuals being bonded out, even after committing violent crimes. Some crimes, in my opinion, are too serious for anyone to be bonded out, especially when we’re talking murder.  A major question is this: why are so many criminals being bonded out? And why are some, who commit crime a second time while out on bond, being released yet again? If someone commits a crime while out on bond, their ability to bond out again or be released again by any other method should be revoked. Our police are working too hard to arrest these individuals only to see them turned out again to commit further crime.

I have it on good authority that we have criminals in our midst right now who have been bonded out on one crime and bonded out or released again after committing a second crime – while the case on the first crime is still pending. This is unconscionable. Any judge, any court, and anyone in our legal system who thinks that this is right should think again.

Continued prayers for our city… Continued prayers for families who are hurting… Continued prayers for law enforcement who are working tirelessly every day to make our city safer… These are my prayer requests today. And please pray for our judicial system, that they will do the right thing. Because Natchez Deserves More.


Dan M. Gibson is mayor of Natchez.