Safety in question for Downtown Hattiesburg

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With the different incidents that have happened in Downtown Hattiesburg in the past year, including Sunday's shooting, you can only wonder if residents in the area feel safe.

"I have not been impacted by that at all," said resident James Bacchus.

"It's extremely rare that I feel uncomfortable in the place that I live," said resident Gabbie Munn.

Although most residents said they feel safe, an online poll conducted by WDAM showed otherwise. Out of 105 participants, 71.4 percent said they didn't feel safe living in Downtown Hattiesburg. The poll question was only for Downtown Hattiesburg residents.

Looking at this year alone, in January one man was shot in the shoulder in a downtown parking lot. Two men were immediately arrested. In March, shots were fired near the same area. One business found two bullet holes through their front window the next day. Sunday, one man was shot in the foot, the shooting also took place in a downtown parking lot. According to police, all incidents were near Taste Bar and Lounge.

"What do you expect when someone is intoxicated," said resident Elisha Jackson. "They're out of their mind from the start."

Some local business owners said they aren't letting a few incidents shake them.

"For years they haven't had any problems," said Southern Fried Comics owner Barry Herring. "I don't know why it's happening now, but no I generally feel safe."

"While it does make me feel a little bit uncomfortable I feel like of all the places I could be, this is probably the safest," said Click Boutique co-owner Jason Leviere.

Taste Bar and Lounge owner Malcolm Clark says he and his staff do everything possible to keep the club and the area around safe.

"Never been an incident inside the club with any kind of weapon, no guns, no knives or anything, not even in the parking lot across the street or on either side of the club," said Clark. 

Clark says he is exploring changing venues.

As for the shooting that happened Sunday morning, police are still looking for a suspect. If you have any information you are asked to contact Hattiesburg Police.

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