Barry Admits Gang Problem in Meridian

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Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry says police officers will be stopping anyone in the community who displays suspicious behavior.

"We will put criminals behind bars if they are not following the law," Barry said.

During Thursday's press conference, Barry said that funds have been set aside for extra officers to patrol the streets and that all criminals are now on notice.

"We will clean up our streets," she added. "We will take Meridian back by storm."

As for concerns many have about going out after dark because of the recent crime, Barry said Meridian is no different from many other American cities facing crime problems. Police said every sworn police officer will be involved in patrolling the streets now. Newscenter 11 asked Barry whether the crimes are gang related.

"Well, I think it is very obvious that Meridian has a gang problem," Barry admitted. "But I think that we have a strong force, strong community force, strong pastoral forces and as one community, we are going to fight the gangs, the criminals, the robberies. Anything that's going on with criminal activity in our community, they are going to jail. They better be watching their backs."

Police Chief James Reed did not attend the conference on crime. Mayor Barry told Newscenter 11 that is because Reed is attending a conference that was planned several months ago, but said she has been meeting with Reed on a daily basis about the ongoing crime problem.

"Everything that we have is going to the streets and I think that you will see a difference by this afternoon," she said.

Barry says if anyone witnesses suspicious activity, it is important to call 911 immediately.