Results of the recently published 2004 Mississippi Crime Poll, published by the Mississippi Statistical Analysis Center, shows that fewer than three of every five Mississippians support capital punishment. That is below the national average.
"It's interesting Mississippi residents do not support the death penalty that many others in other regions do. I think a lot of it has to do more with regards to religious beliefs," said Dr. Alan Thompson, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Southern Mississippi.
The report examined issues such as correctional policy and confidence in local police, which included all law enforcement agencies being able to use radar. Seventy-eight percent of those polled agreed with using it to enforce the speed limit and prevent accidents.
Currently, Mississippi and Kentucky are the only two states that don't allow sheriff's deputies to use radar, even though city police officers are allowed.
"We think it is a very useful tool and is a very necessary tool for all law enforcement agencies to have," said Maj. Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.
In a related question, 36 percent of those polled said they believe local police lack adequate resources to prevent crime.
"I don't really agree with that," said Chief Benny Dubose of the Meridian Police Department. "We do have the resources."
The 23-page report is said to be the first comprehensive report of its kind, designed to identify the public's beliefs, perceptions and attitudes on crime and justice.