"Quinn Campaign Fires Back On New Crime Stats" by Politics Blog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

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Quinn Campaign Fires Back On New Crime Stats

In a response to a release from the city yesterday citing decreasing crime numbers you can read about here, the campaign to elect Regina Quinn put out this press release Thursday afternoon:

"Today the Jackson Police Department released statistics stating that overall crime is down 16.2%. As of December 2012, three months ago, the City of Jackson reported 66 homicides, compared to 54 in 2011. Police also said violent crimes were up in 2012, with rape and aggravated assault up 8 percent. The current administration emphasized the fact that property crimes were reduced. Yet, they have offered no strategy to deal with the constant increase in violent crimes in our capital city. What does it say about the quality of life in Jackson when the city boasts a decrease in property crime, and offers no solution to loss of 66 lives? Just this year alone, two young people lost their lives over a dice game. We must take control of crime, especially violent crime. I want you to trust that you can count on Regina Quinn to take Jackson in a New Direction."

A release also included a link to a WAPT report with some background on those homicide numbers. JPD has maintained that it cannot do much about murders aside from solving them, which they have become remarkably apt at doing. Nearly 65 percent of murders in Jackson were solved in 2012, 15 percent higher than the national average of 50, according to WAPT's report.

Comments

donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

. Yet, they have offered no strategy to deal with the constant increase in violent crimes in our capital city. What does it say about the quality of life in Jackson when the city boasts a decrease in property crime, and offers no solution to loss of 66 lives?

OK, this is an odd statement. Ms. Quinn is starting to sound a bit like Mr. Melton on this point--who promised to "solve crime" in 90 days. The 66 murders are awful, but how is she suggesting that the mayor or police department stop murders--most of which are either domestic or between people involved in the illegal drug trade (which is very lucrative thanks to the drug war).

This is the kind of crime rhetoric, especially when fashioned around statistics, that just gives me a headache. I believe Ms. Quinn can do better than this, even if this is the campaign advice she is getting. Jacksonians have heard enough campaign statistic-twisting to last a lifetime.

I wonder if she also blames the sheriff's department for not doing more to stop the murders?

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LadiesFirst 5 years, 6 months ago

I think its offensive that you say she sounds like Melton. She hasn't made any promises of that sort, so what is the comparison for? In fact, I find that particularly odd. Ms. Quinn apparently values the impact of the 66 lives lost, which is why it appears she spoke out. It seems that Harvey Johnson is just resorting to another campaign ploy to get re-elected. Further, is it even true or is it some far reaching assumption that most homicides in Jackson are the result of domestic situations or illegal drug trade? Is that what the dice murders are being considered? Is the murder of the young teenager last year who was missing for two weeks a drug issue (in the clarion ledger)? And what has the mayor even had to say about those.....I can't do anything about it? It was my understanding that the Election-man crime strategy with crimestoppers was also involving felons and guns? So, is the investment in crimestoppers also their attempt at curbing domestic and illegal drug trade homicides? What I know is that I am tired of the lies and hands off approach.... I believe Ms. Quinn is on to something!

I am disappointed with your notions of a headache. This is more than crime rhetoric, this is a matter of public safety, especially in the communities with higher African-American citizens. How many of the 66 homicides in Jackson occurred east of State St? So, its very low of you to dismiss her because of your frustrations with Frank Melton. Furthermore, to your antagonistic question about the Sheriff; why would she blame him? Jackson has a police department who should take homicide more seriously! But since you brought up the sheriff I challenge you to revisit his short lived term as interim police chief. Crime was on a stark decline while he served in that position, but Harvey thought it better to remove him, and at least two mayoral candidates other than Ms. Quinn (J. Lee and C. Lumumba) think the Sheriff is doing a good job (stated at two prior mayoral forums: Peoples' Assembly and NAACP). If you want to know what Ms. Quinn is going to do different to address homicides or violent crimes, then sounds like its time for another interview! I hope that you are prepared to move in a new direction because it sounds like Ms. Quinn is ready to lead us there.

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donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

You can think it's offensive all you want, but Melton took crime sensationalism to a new level in local politics. What is offensive to me is any implication that the current mayor, or any other candidate, does not "value the impact of the 66 lives lost." It is not cool and it's not a sign of leadership to campaign on the lives of murder victims, implying that other candidates don't care about them.

I'm not the only person in this city right now who is sensitive to the way candidates use crime as a political tool. It is good and cool to talk specifically about ways you can either change the conditions that lead to crime, or do something specific to improve the police department -- but acting like it's any mayor's fault that we had 66 murders instead of 54 is an insult to all of our intelligence and is a cheap shot—and, yes, something Frank Melton did over and over again.

I expect better out of Ms. Quinn. And there is nothing cheap about having higher expectations for a potential leader than resorting to mindless crime sensationalism.

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LadiesFirst 5 years, 6 months ago

you and I agree about crime sensationalism. I unfortunately, I am not really as familiar with the crime bantor of Frank Melton. I do know from several conversations with people in Jackson that Melton had a particular passion for the plight of young African-American men. Again, I think your previous post was far reaching about the domestic or drug nature of the homicides in Jackson, have you quantified that yet?

As it relates to the current mayor, did Ms. Quinn make a statement that he didn't care about the 66 lives lost? I don't read that. What I read is her saying that he isn't doing enough. As I said earlier, sounds like you need to do another interview or ask what she plans to do about it.

If anyone is using political tools I again would point to the convenient reporting of Election man. This was a campaign tool, just like the town hall, the crimestoppers spill, $10M bond, and now the convenience of this crime report. 66 lives were lost last year, and we have a mayor that submits nothing can be done. That obviously is a sign that we need new leadership. I expect more out of Ms. Quinn and I think your expectations of her are fitting, but she has a plan to address violent crime in Jackson. Sadly you think her speaking out on the increase of homicides is mindless crime sensationalism. I hope you have not gotten complacent with the idea that violent crime can't be addressed.

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donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

Ah, so to change the subject from Ms. Quinn's implication that the mayor doesn't care enough about murders with the suggestion that I may be getting "complacent" about violent crime. Righhht.

We did an entire issue recently on fighting crime you should flip through: jfp.ms/crime

I wrote the lead story of the package (and several others): Why They Kill. One thing the article addresses is that crime sensationalism never solves crime--and can, in fact, make it worse.

As for most of our murders being drug-trade-related or domestic/family, I challenge you to prove me wrong.

In your post above, you said that the current mayor "submits nothing can be done." That, on its face, if false and adds nothing to this discussion. In his telephone town-hall meeting (which our political blogger has criticized in a separate post), the mayor addressed the serious problem of felons with guns. Many of our violent crimes are, indeed, committed by felons (often for drug-related violence) who do not stay in prison and then come back out and get a weapon and commit another crime.

A mayor, or even a police department, cannot keep a violent felon in prison. They can apprehend them (which our city shines at and has for years), and then they go into the judicial system -- which is a mess in Hinds County, as you may or may not know.

Regardless of what any candidate tells you, a mayor plays a limited role in fighting/stopping crime -- although certain research-based initiatives can help. Any mayor who promises the farm in stopping the kinds of crimes we're talking about will probably have about the same success as Mayor Melton. Of course, one can make a strong argument that he was responsible for a rise in violent crimes in various ways, but that's another subject for another time.

Serious mayoral candidates cannot, and should not, over-promise on crime. One of the candidates last time, John Horhn, was very impressive on this front. He did not sensationalize crime, he didn't over-emphasize the role of the police or city government in stopping it, and he was well-versed in actual prevention strategies (which have more to do with jobs and education and economic development). The current mayor is strong on these points as well; thus, the way to beat him is to be smarter on these issues and not say things we'd expect out of someone like Melton.

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tyler.cleveland 5 years, 6 months ago

If you follow the link to the video from WAPT, there is an interview with the Assistant Chief of Police Lee Vance, and he explains why homicides are hard to prevent. Police can't just be driving by and catch every murderer in the act, because these crimes aren't planned. I think you'd agrre that murder over a dice game certainly wasn't premeditated. Unless a policeman was at the dice game, how could he have stopped that? What they can do is solve murders, which Jackson detectives to at a clip of 15 percent higher than the national average. If we're talking about preventing murders, then we're no longer talking about a crime issue, we're talking about a cultural issue. Young people have to realize that there are other ways to solve disputes than shooting or stabbing one another. I'm not saying Jackson has no crime or that the mayor has a perfect record, just trying to be fair.

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Knowledge06 5 years, 6 months ago

After reading all the rhetoric from the Quinn supporter, I'm yet to see what her candidate is proposing to do differently. If Ms. Quinn is going to spend her campaign time talking about the incumbent rather than highlighting the reasons why she should be Mayor, then she has already lost the race. If Ms. Quinn's strengths are so great, highlighting those should be paramount to her path to victory. If, by on the other hand, she really has nothing to offer then spending time bashing the incumbent is what she needs to do!

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donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

Nice post, Tyler. None of us say that Jackson has no crime, and none of us downplay the actual murders (including the current mayor). It's not fair or accurate to attribute that to anyone. I also doubt that it is very smart politics. It's hard to take anyone seriously who uses that tactic. It worked for Melton, sure, but after that fiasco, the city is a bit more wary of crime sensationalism disguised as a plan. The politicians who try it look out of touch quickly.

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LadiesFirst 5 years, 6 months ago

For the record, the subject was not changed from Ms. Quinn sentiment. I support that wholeheartedly! You being complacent is a concern about people needing to be mindful of their expectations and not demanding more for the city.

(This was written by Tyler Cleveland earlier in the Quinn response piece above) "JPD has maintained that it cannot do much about murders aside from solving them, which they have become remarkably apt at doing so..."

This is why I said "submits nothing that can be done". I am not interested in skewing Harvey's position or sensationalizing, I think point out Harvey's record is good enough to show complacency! But your quote reinforces my point that there is no real plan to address these violent crimes. I here what you are saying about sensationalism, John Horhn, JFP prior coverage, etc., but after all that has been said and done not what? Have you been to a victims of homicide meeting here in Jackson? Have you sat with any of these parents about their loss? They are asking for more to be done, yet you are here calling it sensationalism! Why? For some citizens, Harvey isn't doing enough, and of course I recognize that as an opinion.

I am supporting Regina Quinn for mayor, because I know she will do something about this. Other mayors are taking their role more seriously, and we deserve a mayor who will do the same and then some! Simply put what the current administration is doing is not enough, and Tyler discussing cultural issues... what does that mean? What culture is that? Black culture? What culture are we referencing? As I stated earlier, how many crimes have occurred east of State St? I would be careful about how you talk about culture (that term seems quite encompassing, or maybe you just think everything on the west side is the same).

Tyler, to your point about solving crime, I think solving crime is the minimal expectation. Since this is a culture issue you have so well identified, are there not any preventive measures? Is there nothing that JPD can do on the front end? How about community policing? Oh that's right, some cultures in Jackson don't trust JPD.

I am sure you all think its great that we keep graduating police academy classes, but the force numbers hardly increase? Is that sensationalism, too?

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SouthernManHelping 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't understand why there is not real "leadership" in our city to provide alternatives in assisting with crime prevention. It seems that the current mayor has settled into managing the status quo, instead of shaping the future of Jackson. Where is the urgency? Where is the real change? Can we get beyond managing the status quo and show us, the citizens of Jackson, real leadership that helps shape the future of the city. Sure, JPD solves crimes, and no doubt do a fine job. However, we are looking for a real leader now!

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tyler.cleveland 5 years, 6 months ago

LadiesFirst, do you not get what I'm saying about the difference in preventing a murder vs. solving a murder? We can't get all the guns and knives off the streets overnight, so as long as people have a lack of respect for human life, they are going to kill each other. Whoever the mayor is, he/she could spend time talking to kids about having respect for each other and valuing human life, but is that really the job of a mayor? I would argue that kind of falls under the job description of a parent, guardian or religious leader - you know, cultural influences. That's what I mean by culture. Just wanted to clarify.

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darryl 5 years, 6 months ago

Excellent riposte, Mr. Cleveland. The mayor and our police force have separate responsibilities than to create a sea-change in the cultures of those committing crimes. The overwhelming majority of violent crimes committed in Jackson and elsewhere are by people with no structural rooting to their family and no respect for life. A mayor cannot influence that. It sounds like LadiesFirst and the Quinn campaign are blowing a different quality of smoke.

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LadiesFirst 5 years, 6 months ago

Tyler thanks for your reply. I understand well the difference in preventing and solving murders. The question is what expectations do you have for our mayor to play a role in both? Other cities with problems with violent crimes such as ours have done more.. I care more about the preventive approach than a reactive approach. JPD's record on solving homicide is not the debate. The mayor's job is.

Tyler and Daryl, We have a chance to choose a new direction for this city. We don't have to have a mayor that is appreciated for being a "reactionary". We need a visionary. We need a better appreciation of proactive crime fighting, rather than reactive. That will influence the culture you reference. Its clear that your references to job descriptions are utopian and seemingly disconnected. Do you appreciate that when you have the demographics of Jackson, there are many significantly broken homes, where terms like parent, guardian, and religious leader don't carry the same "influential value". So, what then? We just wait on them to rebel? Put a price on their head for their cost of incarceration? So, do we call that the "culture"? So, what I am supporting is that we take that whole "village to raise a people" thing with serious thought and move past the novelties of "structural rooting to their family and no respect for life" talk and move forward already.

Lastly Darryl, I don't think its off to think that public officials can affect how youth respect themselves or their community. Harvey Johnson himself wouldn't agree to that.

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RonniMott 5 years, 6 months ago

LadiesFirst, perhaps you can provide some actual facts. When you say, for example, that "Other cities with problems with violent crimes such as ours have done more," I know many of us would like to know where that is and what they've done.

Also, when you make accusations such as "a mayor that is appreciated for being a 'reactionary,'" what exactly do you mean?

Regina Quinn did a pretty good job of laying out what she believes are the basic problems causing crime in her interview with the JFP: poor education, lack of opportunity and drugs. All of those problems are incredibly complex and none can be solved through local leadership alone. And, seriously, anyone who believes that generational ignorance and poverty coupled with systemic bias isn't a part of the problem doesn't have a good grasp of the issue.

No one is against moving forward, but Instead of platitudes, I, for one, would be interested in someone plotting a clear path out of the mess. Moving without direction isn't the answer.

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donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

Right, Ronni. Her very intelligent comments then are why I think she should not stoop to cheap rhetoric on crime now.

I have some other comments for this thread, all, but no time at the moment. I do appreciate that it is turning into a smarter dialogue over all than it was initially. Any time we can get past campaign rhetoric is a step toward actually improving our city.

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donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

Also, for the record, Darryl talks about "culture" in a very different way than I (and Tyler) do. I'll address that later as well.

Meantime, I urge everyone to read my "Why They Kill" story linked above again, as well as look through our GOOD Ideas issue on crime: http://www.jfp.ms/crime

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RonniMott 5 years, 6 months ago

Let's also admit that people known to their victims are responsible for most violent crimes--murders, rapes, assaults and so forth . The reason that "stranger" crimes are so shocking is that they are not the norm when you look at the bigger picture.

From the Bureau of Justice: "From 1993 to 2008, among homicides reported to the FBI for which the victim-offender relationship was known, between 21% and 27% of homicides were committed by strangers and between 73% and 79% were committed by offenders known to the victims."

Most violence occurs in families, between "friends" or associates, etc. If our society is going to address violent crime effectively, we have to also deal with attitudes that make it OK to slam a "loved one" into a wall, punch him or her in the face, or resort to rape when a person is drunk.

It's all connected, and those attitudes begin to take hold in infancy.

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LadiesFirst 5 years, 6 months ago

It's obvious the frustration that was caused for some here with Frank Melton, because that alone crippled the health of this conversation. Again, it isn't sensationalism for a candidate to call out the facts: 66 homocides in Jackson as of December 2012. 54 homocides in Jackson 2011 (reported by JPD) that report also reporting 8 percent increase in rape and aggravated assault. Can you imagine a day when JPD places their crime stats regularly online? Is that possible to see, or am I sensationalizing crime reporting also? Now that ELECTION MAN JOHNSON has taken over Harvey's job, he has made more public appearances, town halls, and other campaign rhetoric, but to his credit he is the incumbent. Therefore he isn't criticized for campaign rhetoric. His celebrate Jackson "campaign" was a campaign maneuver in which his former campaign media strategist worked that contract. Have we looked over the last four years and compared with to the activity of the last four or five months? Isn't this the example of leadership that lead to Marshall Ramsey's Election Man character?

Ronni, I like fact checking and will respond to you with information, but for the record, I asked a participant in this conversation about showing facts, and was told...." As for most of our murders being drug-trade-related or domestic/family, I challenge you to prove me wrong"....

I like you wanted to be informed... As to your point you should consult the cities of Cincinnati, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Little Rock to name a few. I am glad that Ms. Quinn's camp sent this statement out and that it has evolved to this point.

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donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

It's obvious the frustration that was caused for some here with Frank Melton, because that alone crippled the health of this conversation.

No, LadiesFirst, this isn't just about Frank Melton: He is a just a good analogy for a problem that occurs across the country, especially by politicians looking to score cheap points/votes. But like Melton, though, Quinn is setting herself up for failure by making proclamations that imply that the mayor has a whole lot to do with the murder rate. (It has seen highs and lows on Johnson's watch alone over the years.) Beyond the offensiveness of implying that an incumbent doesn't care enough about people being murdered, it is not a smart political move to hang your hat on promises that indicate that you think you can lower the murder rate by making more noise about murders, especially considering that this is the precise crime that politicians probably have the least control over.

Not to mention, if you pay attention to the crime literature/research, you will see that the sensationalism of violent crime, including by elected officials, can make it more attractive to many people who are risk of committing of -- those mired in hopelessness who want attention. Put another way, if you can get your face on the nightly news, it might be something you consider.

That's why this is much bigger conversation about the various tentacles around crime -- and we should all ask for ideas about what we can all do about changing the conditions that create criminals, as well as limiting their access to the tools of violent crime. Sure, more good police officers are a good thing -- and provides deterrent for some types of crime, but not usually murder, sadly. (See the domestic/drug-war point again.)

What happens in Jackson (and many places), though, is that people want to fingerpoint at elected officials and police officers while not doing enough of their part (including to decide to pay for education) during non-election times.

One of my first signs that Melton was a charlatan were his empty promises and uninformed rhetoric about violent crime. It is a huge red flag when any candidate plays that game.

More later ...

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donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

As for doing research, LadiesFirst, I've done mine, and I do it every day. What we find is that when a shill for a candidate comes on here, they won't listen anyway. If you're serious about these issues, you'll go read up for yourself. If you're not, you won't believe anyway. And neither matters much to me. You'll do what you want. I'm trying to have a serious conversation; I invite you to join us.

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RonniMott 5 years, 6 months ago

LadiesFirst, statistics without context is almost always sensationalism, IMHO.

Just repeating that Jackson had 66 homicides says absolutely nothing useful. Who are the victims? Who are the perpetrators and have they been apprehended? What were the circumstances? Where did the crimes occur?

If all you're going to do is repeat the numbers, it's fear mongering. Knowing the answers to the questions and putting those crimes into their proper context may actually provide a way to deal with them rationally.

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donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

If all you're going to do is repeat the numbers, it's fear mongering.

Or, it's campaigning. I'll leave it there.

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