MPD Looks to Saturate High-Crime Areas

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Meridian, Mississippi The city of Meridian saw 26 armed robberies in the month of July and numerous residential burglaries. Now, Meridian's police chief says he is taking action to a get a handle on things.

Meridian Police Chief James Lee says officers are tackling the city's crime problem by saturating high crime areas. If the department is able to hire additional officers to assist its current 94 officers, Lee says that will only help.

"Where you would see one or two police cars in a particular district or zone, I want to put four or five cars in there," Chief Lee explains. "I want to be able to, if you're walking the streets looking for something to do, you're not going to do it if you see a police car every four minutes."

Chief Lee says while there are some crimes that are tough to predict, such as domestic violence or vandalism, there are methods to stamp out crimes in places known for a high volume of crime.

"It's like putting your fingers in a dam," Lee says. "As soon as you fix this hole over here, another hole pops up over here. The position of this police department is to do what Theodore Roosevelt told the American Indians, "We must endeavor to persevere and we shall persevere."

As for the reputation of the police department and the fact that there have been two other chiefs in the past year, Lee does admit the department is a challenge. However, he says that's not the fault of the previous chiefs.

"That doesn't have a lot to do with a police department, who the chief is," Lee assures. "I see the police department as I view the city. It has the potential of being something great. We have a beautiful police department. Now, I've been police chief and a policeman in towns where the police department was an old car dealership."

Chief Lee is in the process of beginning a program known as "See Something, Say Something." Anyone with crime fighting information will be able to call a three digit number without the fear of retaliation. A start date has not been announced.