Mississippi capital posts homicide record in 2021

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) – More people were killed by other people in Jackson in 2021 than any other year in the Mississippi capital.

Jackson reported at least 152 homicides in 2021, reports the Clarion Ledger, easily surpassing the city’s previous record of 130 homicides set in 2020.

The vast majority of deaths were related to firearms. December was the deadliest month of the year, with 21 homicides as of December 30, the newspaper reported. The second deadliest was June, with 18 homicides.

Jackson’s mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, attributed the city’s high crime rate to multiple factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic poverty, poor education and a lack of jobs.

“We continue to work behind the scenes to tackle violent crime in Jackson,” Lumumba said. “We know the pandemic has increased the level of desperation that leads to violent crime across the country, and Jackson has not been immune to this trend.”

Law enforcement officials and other politicians say guns are used to settle disputes arising from family or neighborhood disputes.

During this time, the Jackson Police Department took care of the vacant officer positions. The Clarion Ledger reported in August 2020 that the department was short of 100 agents. Lumumba said the city will continue to increase the number of officers in the police department through recruitment and efforts to increase officer pay.