The Jackson Police Department has houses, such as this one in west Jackson, slated for demolition, as the house numbers spray-painted in red indicates.
Photo by Imani Khayyam.
JACKSON The Jackson Police Department is celebrating its 200th demolition of abandoned homes this week, including some they say are "high profile."
"This is since October 2014, since it was taken under police jurisdiction, this is 203 (demolitions)," Commander Jaye Coleman of JPD's Community Improvement division said by phone Monday. "We are up to approximately $950,000 in money saved as a result of citizens fixing their own property or taking care of it."
That dollar amount of savings is not the result of knocking down old and crumbling structures and overgrown lots, Coleman explained, but the direct consequence of citizens taking care of the property themselves. The exact amount the city has saved is $950,583.08, data in a Community Improvement presentation show.
Depending on the property, the steps needed to put the lot back into code can include demolition, rehabbing, boarding up the house and simply mowing the grass. Coleman said his department puts a lot of effort in finding the owners and working with them to remedy the source of any complaints.
"Basically, putting it out to the public of what we need their help on, as far as taking care of your own property," Coleman said. "Whether it is a demo(lition) or grass and weeds on a lot that you may own, (we give) them the opportunity to beautify their neighborhood and take ownership of your property."
Coleman said he expects his department to push to engage more members of the community to address the conditions of their property to avoid unnecessary city expenditure. "Well, we want to keep it going, I'ts never been done like this before," Coleman said. "We got to this mark, and it is a significant number, but at the same time we want it to continue."
Last Week's Crime Update
Jasper Bell, an inmate at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman was found dead in his cell Friday, May 13. Bell, 21, was serving a 35-year sentence for the 2010 shooting and robbery of Jackson State University researcher Andrea Scott. Scott was shot twice in the head but survived. Bell also had multiple convictions including armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon on educational property, residential burglary, strong armed robbery and carjacking, a Mississippi Department of Corrections press released stated. There will be an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Last week marked another week of lower crime rates across the city, with a 10.5 percent decrease in major crime over the same period in 2015. Property crimes have decreased 14 percent year to date, though violent crimes against person are creeping up with a 2.7 percent increase over the same period in 2015. Grand larceny, aggravated assault and homicide are on the rise, and Precinct 2 is experiencing undergoing a 9.4-percent increase in violent crimes over 2015.
Precinct 3 saw a small increase of less than 1 percent, and Precinct 4 remained steady.
Commander Buckley Receives Excellence Award
On May 6, Jackson Police Commander Tyrone Buckley received the Nehemiah Graduate Studies Award from Belhaven University for his academic and moral excellence that best exemplifies the university's vision. Buckley has served with the JPD for 15 years and worked in various departments such as Patrol Division, Intelligence and Major Investigations. He graduated from the university with a 4.0 GPA in public administration.
Follow the JFP's Preventing Violence series at jfp.ms/preventingviolence. Email Deputy News Editor Maya Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @mayalmiller.