Chief Benny Dubose of the Meridian Police Department said crime was up substantially early in the summer, but new programs instituted are working.
"Crimes are still occurring inside the city but not at the rate that I would consider a crime wave," Dubose said, answering questions at the mayor's regular news conference.
The chief said one part of the problem is that repeat offenders are receiving little or no actual punishment from the courts.
"A lot of them are receiving time on paper but are, because we're overcrowded in prisons, are being put on probation or they are being released early," said Dubose. "That type of thing. I think that if we would follow the written law more severely than we are now that we might see a decrease in criminal activity."
But we pointed out, a lot of courts contend that because prisons are overcrowded and expensive to operate, the way to handle the problem is to give the lawbreaker a slap on the wrist and turn them loose.
"The individuals that I know in law enforcement don't agree with that," the chief said. "We feel like that if these officers are out here enforcing the laws, doing our part, that when it gets to the courts we don't necessarily feel, I don't personally feel the courts are doing their part as far as punishment. I know what guidelines we see written in the law books that, if you commit this crime this is what you'll receive and that's not necessarily what's happening."
Dubose said expectation of punishment is a major deterrent in reducing the crime rate.
"I feel like, if the individual expected to receive a certain punishment for a crime, then they would think twice before committing that crime," said Dubose.
Dubose said he believes the Police Department has adequate manpower.
"Currently we are two officers short but it's been years since we were that close to being fully staffed," said Dubose.