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Jackson Police Department officers must be vigilant in enforcing the city ordinance against soliciting in public, JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance said during a command staff meeting today. The crackdown comes at the request of Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., who raised concerns at Tuesday's City Council meeting about the safety of children who solicit money at traffic intersections for sports teams and other activities.
Deputy Chief for Patrol Eric Wall told the Jackson Free Press he expects officers can address most violations of the ordinance by warning the adults who supervise such public fundraising.
"The kids are out there because an adult sent them out there," Wall said. "I think it's just a lack of knowledge about how it works. ... We need to find the coaches, moms and dads, and let them know they're violating a city ordinance. We don't want to have someone get hurt trying to collect a few nickels and dimes."
Also at today's meeting, JPD command staff reviewed crime numbers for last week. The statistics show that crime dropped nearly 20 percent the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, compared to the previous week. Each of the department's four patrol precincts reported an overall decrease in felony crimes, with Precinct 2, which covers the central part of Jackson, reporting the most dramatic decrease: from 80 total crimes to 57.
For the year-to-date, major crimes are up 4 percent compared to 2009. Northwest Jackson's Precinct 3 is the only precinct reporting an overall decrease in crime for the year to date. Precinct 2 has reported a 2.1 percent increase in total crimes for the year to date, while northeast Jackson's Precinct 4 has seen a 6.4 increase.
Precinct 1, in south Jackson, has seen an 11.3 percent increase in total crimes from 2009, coinciding with an increase in that area's population. Precinct 1 Commander Donald Gater told command staff that his officers have received roughly 5,000 more calls for service from citizens than they had at this time last year.