Read this week's crime report (PDF, 480 KB)
The Jackson Police Department is organizing convenience stores around crime prevention. Next week, the department will host a strategy session with representatives from the city's Sprint Mart convenience stores. The department hopes to eventually meet with 250 store managers.
The strategy session follows a pair of high-profile shootings at convenience stores earlier this year. Those incidents led Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes to introduce a city ordinance requiring security officers at the stores. JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance said that the department's outreach to convenience stores started before those shootings, and that despite the visibility, convenience stores and gas stations are not especially dangerous spots in the city.
"The statistics show that convenience stores are really safe," Vance told the Jackson Free Press at a command staff meeting this morning.
Vance said that the push to organize convenience stores came after the department's successful cooperation with churches this winter. A string of church burglaries in January spurred JPD's effort to band churches together to prevent crime. JPD eventually arrested several suspected church burglars, and the department began looking to expand its organizing efforts to other institutions.
"We've got the churches organized," Vance said. "Why not the convenience stores; why not the hotels?"
Vance said JPD hopes to establish a coalition of convenience stores modeled on a neighborhood watch. Specific crime-prevention strategies will come out of conversations with store managers, he said, adding that the department's goal was "to come up with something new."
Also at this morning's meeting, precinct commanders presented crime totals from last week. Crime rose slightly over the previous week, with officers reporting 207 total felony crimes, up from 201 the prior week. For the year to date, property crimes are 1.1 percent above 2009 numbers, while violent crimes are up 18.5 percent over last year.
Wouldn't it be productive to at least look at who is committing these crimes? Is it people looking for drug money, transients, teenagers not in school, soccer moms, organized crime, or just people doing it for the thrill? Then target the causes of the crime instead of a reactionary call for security guards?