Violence is continuing to overtake Meridian. In 2022 there have been six homicides in the Queen City, compared to last year's three, and more than thirty aggravated assaults. Twin States News got answers from the mayor and the police department regarding the continued violence in the city.
With a shooting occurring almost daily, and a homicide being committed almost monthly the Meridian community is wanting answers as to why there is continued violence and what it will take to end it.
Many members of the community believe that the crime is a result of the youth.
“I really think it’s sad and I think a lot of these kids these days don’t realize exactly what they're getting into. They’re just out there reacting to other people”, stated a Meridian resident who wished to remain anonymous.
Jaylon Brown is 17 years old. As part of the youth community, Brown says he does not feel safe, and losing his peers to violence is affecting him.
“It’s sad. It is really sad because we can just be having fun one day out in the open and then somebody will die one of my peers or anybody just pass away. it's just said. I think we're too young for this”, stated Brown. “We're supposed to be living it up and having a great life and then all of a sudden, we just die today at 17, 18 years old. We're too young for this.”
Sgt. Heather Luebbers of MPD says a number of the crimes are committed by repeat
“It's extremely frustrating between the community and our justice system. Our justice system, unfortunately, is way behind. And when we make these arrests, a lot of times these offenders are able to bond out. And then there you know, before that, they may not go to trial for two or three years”, stated Sgt. Luebbers. “And I mean, I know that it’s not our fault. It's not the community's fault. It's just it's kind of is what it is. But it's extremely frustrating to see these people get out and re-offend.”
Since taking office the community has been demanding answers from both the mayor and police chief on what they plan to do about the city’s crime.
“We don’t have a silver bullet like Long Ranger. We have a strategy that's in place and we’re going to fight crime like it needs to be fought”, stated Mayor Smith. “I know that it's going to take time and some of it we can’t stop but we’re going to try to stop as much of it as we can.”
Twin States News will continue to follow the violence in Meridian and what city leaders will do to combat it.