Hattiesburg town hall meeting addresses crime

Hattiesburg town hall meeting addresses crime
Town Hall Meeting

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg residents gathered at the Hattiesburg Train Depot for a town hall meeting to address crime in the Hub City.

Members of the Hattiesburg Police Department including Chief Frazier Bolton were on hand to field questions and listen to concerns voiced by citizens.

Majority of the citizens who chose to speak praised the department for the work they do.

Officials with the department stated that overall; crime in the Hub City is down, however homicides which is the most violent crime, is up.

Some citizens veered off topic and addressed multiple city council officials regarding their "tiffs" with Mayor Johnny DuPree.

Very few citizens had major issues with the department, but a message that was stressed by multiple people was that citizens need to get behind their police department and back them up. Some stated you have to support the ones who are protecting your community.

Members of the department addressed areas of crime, along with areas in the community they are working to decrease crime from occurring, whether it is special operations units, or the amount of detectives working on a homicide.

Gang violence was addressed as well as the number of teens and younger people involved in street gangs.

One statistic that the department officials gave to the public was that 70 percent of auto burglaries this year have occurred to vehicles that are unlocked.

The department heads encouraged the public to meet them half way in working in the community to combat crime. They urged people to stay alert and report things, even if they do not think it is an issue, they are better to know and it be nothing, that come back later and it be a burglary.

"Information that the citizens came to us with and the questions they had, it was a very positive thing," said Jon Traxler. "It was good towards us, they did express their concerns about certain things and gave us ideas, and we want get back with those people and talk with them and get more information from them," said Traxler.