Gov. Reeves called Jackson ‘murder capital of the world.’ City leaders say that’s inaccurate.

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 10:23 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - On Thursday, Governor Tate Reeves announced plans for a $1.3 billion in infrastructure and economic development project.

While many in the state were happy to hear this news, others were taking issue with another comment the governor made.

During his presser, Reeves called Jackson the “murder capital of the world.”

Jackson residents and city leaders, along with state lawmakers who represent Hinds County, took issue with the comment, saying it’s inaccurate.

“I was appalled and insulted,” said Councilman Aaron Banks, who represents Ward 6 in Jackson. “How dare Tate Reeves make such a comment, first of all, with inaccuracy.”

“These irresponsible deliberate inaccuracies are one reason the Mayor no longer comments on the Governor’s constant attempts to bash and spew false narratives about the City of Jackson,” said Melissa Faith Payne, Communications Director for the City of Jackson.

The governor made the comment when asked about his thoughts on House Bill 1020.

Under this bill, the Mississippi Supreme Court would appoint judges to hear civil and criminal cases in the Capital Complex Improvement District.

The Attorney General’s Office would be responsible for appointing prosecutors to take on these cases.

The legislation would also expand the boundaries of the CCID.

“For him to be the governor, stay in this mansion right here in the city of Jackson, and talk about how bad it is, come ride around in South Jackson Tate Reeves,” said Banks. “Come ride around and meet some of the good people and see some of the good things Jackson has to offer, or is it that when the tough gets going, all you can do is hurl insults that make no sense and that are not factual.”

We reached out to the governor’s office about his comments. Shelby Wilcher, who’s the governor’s press secretary, issued a statement saying that’s not what the governor intended to say.

“Jackson has led the nation when it comes to homicides, as the governor intended to highlight,” the statement read. “On the global level- Jackson finds itself in the company of Tijuana (Mexico), Acapulco (Mexico), and Caracas (Venezuela) as one of the most dangerous places in the world. Not a position any American city should be in. According to analysis by Statista, if included, Jackson, with its homicide rate of approximately 88.9 per 100,000 in 2022, would have placed fourth in the world.

However, even that is not entirely accurate.

According to our data, in 2022, Jackson had a homicide rate of 88.8 per capita, and ranked highest in the nation among only major cities in the U.S.

Wilcher did not make that same distinction.

“As the governor of the state of Mississippi, this happened while he was leading,” said Banks. “He wants to find a reason to insult and make Jackson the worst place in the world, but if it is the worst place in the world, it became the worst place in the world under his leadership.”

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