Crime Stats Show Education's Power, JPD Chiefs Say | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Crime Stats Show Education's Power, JPD Chiefs Say

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Recently released FBI crime statistics for 2009 demonstrate the importance of education in crime prevention, Jackson Police Department command staff said today. The FBI numbers, a preliminary version of the bureau's annual Uniform Crime Report, show that Jackson saw an 8 percent decrease in violent crime in 2009, outpacing a 5.5 percent decrease nationwide. Jackson also experienced a 1.1 percent increase in property crimes, though, while nationwide property crime dropped 4.9 percent.

Deputy Chief for Patrol Eric Wall said that property crimes are inextricably linked to the market for stolen goods. People burglarize homes and automobiles because they can get money for the property, Wall said.

Violent crimes in the city mostly occur between people who know each other, Wall added, and the department's efforts to prevent violent crime emphasizes education. Keeping guns out of the hands of young people is difficult, for example, if parents are not supervising their children.

Tyrone Lewis, JPD's deputy chief for community services, said that while violent crimes are often crimes of passion, the department can help prevent them "by increasing our educational component, by going to community meetings as well as doing seminars about domestic violence and conflict resolution."

Lewis said that many of the city's property crimes are "crimes of opportunity."

"When we eliminate the crimes of opportunity by not leaving valuables in your car, such as iPods, phones and loose change, we'll see property crime decrease as well," Lewis said. "It helps when people know."

Overall, property and violent crimes are up in 2010. Officers have reported 3,978 property crimes as of May 23, compared to 3,877 by the same time last year. JPD has also logged 661 violent crimes for this year to date, compared to 565 in 2009.

Crime dropped in both categories last week, however, with officers reporting a 4.3 percent reduction in property crime and a 35.9 percent decrease in violent crime over the previous week. The decrease in property crime was largely due to drops in auto burglaries and auto thefts. House burglaries, which rose in 2009, are up 11.4 percent for the year to date and increased again last week, from 82 to 100.

Last week's reduction in violent crimes was concentrated in aggravated assaults, armed robberies and carjackings. Figures in three categories are up for the year to date over 2009 numbers.

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