Local and federal law enforcement officials are working to step up community outreach in an effort to prevent crime in Mississippi's Capital City.
Jackson Police, officials with the U-S Attorney's Office and even some agents from the regional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms crowded into a small park in South Jackson yesterday. The sheer number of police cars present alluded to some horrible crime scene, but nothing could be further from the truth.
As part of an effort to lower crime rates throughout the city, law enforcement officials were hoping to connect with community members through events with free food, games and demonstrations.
Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance says the outreach programs is a reminder that the police are here to serve the community.
"We are making an effort to show that we are here more than when it's time to put somebody in jail," says Vance. "That we want a partnership, an everlasting partnership with the community because, in the end, we think that's the most productive strategy that we can have."
However, police are not relying on community outreach alone to solve Jackson's crime problem. The event was also a showcase of how JPD has collaborated with federal law enforcement agencies.
Constance Hester Davis is the Special Agent in Charge of the regional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in New Orleans.
"In order for law enforcement to be successful we need the cooperation from the citizens in the community. what ATF is doing is partnering with local law enforcement, and we're going out into the community and trying to reach the people to let them know we're here. We're not going anywhere. We've been here and we just want to have more visibility in this area so they know exactly what we're doing."
Law enforcement officials say crime rates in Jackson have fallen by 14 percent in recent months.