MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A new study places Meridian among the Top 25 safest cities in the state for 2017. It only takes into account cities with more than 8,000 residents, but the Queen City still ranks among the safest in Mississippi. Though Meridian ranks near the middle of the list, city officials are pleased with the current standing.
"You know I'm happy about the report. But we're always looking at ways to improve and we're going to continue to improve as it relates to crime in our city by using our police team and also other tools that we have at our disposal to fight crime," Mayor Percy Bland said.
The study through safehome.org, uses FBI and Census data to calculate a safety score for cities across the U.S. The website looked at the FBI’s latest crime report in each city over a year span, including specific crime trends. Meridian placed 15th on the list, but the number is encouraging compared to similar sized cities like Hattiesburg and Biloxi.
"Looking at the numbers, you could say that we are the 2nd safest city in the state with a population over 30,000," Police Chief Benny DuBose said.
The good news, the study reports that violent crimes are trending down by 13% in the city. However, property crimes are up by 10%. Mayor Percy Bland says progress from the beginning of the year has affected the numbers on the current survey.
"That is why we have continued to hire more officers. That's why we have continued to now strategically put cameras throughout the community, major hotspots and other major traffic areas," Mayor Bland said.
But, he and Police Chief Benny Dubose agree that there's still work to be done.
"We're trying to send a message that if you commit a crime here in the city of Meridian, first of all we're going to catch you,” Chief DuBose said. “And then second, we're going to prosecute you. And we're going to try to get the judicial system to prosecute these offenders, especially the violent offenders, to the extent that the law will allow."
You can view the full list by clicking the link on the side of the page.