Bland Explains Crime Report Change

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Meridian, Mississippi Daily reports released by the Meridian Police Department no longer include the general location of where a burglary in the city takes place.

Mayor Percy Bland says the city is not hiding anything by choosing not to release specific locations of burglaries in the city.

"We don't want for people in that area to see their house, who may not have had anything to do with some of those issues, on TV," Mayor Bland explains.

Bland tells Newscenter 11the city is simply trying to make citizens feel more comfortable in reporting crime to the police department. Mayor Bland says in some cases, people are afraid to report information out of fear of possibly being identified.

"And so what we're trying to do, as much as possible, is to let you guys know what's going on without sometimes specifically going to the exact locations," Bland says. "Because we don't want that to interfere with our investigations."

While it is not mandatory for the city to release crime reports to the media or to the public, the formatting change comes at a time when crime is high and some Meridian residents say they want to know exactly where crimes are taking place to better protect themselves.

"But at the end of the day, Chief Lee has been tasked with fighting crime," Bland adds. "And he made an executive decision to do those things and I back that decision."

Mayor Bland says the city of Meridian is currently in negotiations with wireless providers to enable the "See Something, Say Something" program. It involves a three digit number you can dial to report crime fighting information anonymously.