JACKSON — Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba wants to focus on intervention efforts to reduce crime among young people in the city after a record year for homicides in Mississippi’s capital.
Lumumba said during a Monday news conference that the city has opportunities to join with others to work with young people before they get in trouble. He cited community groups such as Strong Arms of Jaxn, a private group.
The Clarion Ledger reports that Lumumba’s remarks follow a record-breaking year for homicides in Jackson. Jackson had 155 homicides in 2021, and at least five suspects were under the age of 18, according to Clarion-Ledger records.
“It is difficult to convince me we can’t do a better job to interrupt that cycle,” Lumumba said.
Terun Moore and Benny Ivey are directors of Strong Arms of Jaxn. The group provides training, mentorship and resources for people affected by incarceration.
Moore said he had problems with decision making when he was younger. He joined a gang and served nearly 20 years in prison for murder. Now he is using that experience to help others.
“We find that our young people need love and it’s a problem that can’t be policed,” Moore said, adding other organizations and community partners need to be part of finding solutions.
Ivey, a former gang leader who now mentors those in juvenile detention, said people shouldn’t place blame about crime entirely on the mayor’s office and police. He said others in the community should also carry some responsibility for failing children in Jackson.