With the recent spike in crime, many Meridian residents and people thinking about coming to the city have been on edge for their own personal safety especially with the holiday season approaching. Mayor Cheri Barry and Police Chief James Reed say that the city is working very hard, and they want everyone to feel safe while inside the city.
Mayor Cheri Barry says that, "I think that Meridian is a very safe place and we have a strong police department that is working very hard in solving these crimes and making people feel safe in our community."
"If you're here in the city of Meridian doing business, we want you to feel safe," said Meridian Police Chief James Reed.
While some people, including the Aunt of Terrianda Collins who was gunned down Saturday night believe the increase in armed robberies and shootings are gang related, city officials say they need a little more time to investigate further before they can make that determination.
"I hate to say that we have gangs because I don't know specifically all the names of the gangs. I think that we do have gang activity in Meridian and we have wannabes, and we have people that want to be accepted by someone else.
"We have individuals who have identified themselves as having been involved in gang-related activity, and we again are aggressively pursuing those individuals."
The number one thing city officials say we as residents can do is be aware of our surroundings, and to watch out for anything suspicious.
"We need the help from this community, We need you to be our eyes and our ears and to help us. We want this to be a safe community for all of us to live in."
"Being able to provide us with that information will be very helpful in helping us to resolve crime in the city of Meridian."
Below is Mayor Barry's full statement on the crime problem.
This is an urgent time that calls for decisive action.
Citizens deserve strong leadership from public officials entrusted with public safety.
We have dedicated police officers who patrol our community constantly with one mission—to protect and serve.
We ask that citizens please work with the Meridian Police department and the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department to address crime and make our city safer.
Law enforcement professionals and our community must join together, to listen to each other, and work as one team. We encourage citizens to report crime as it happens. The sooner crime is reported, the better the opportunity MPD and LCSD has to solve it.
We cannot go into details about police procedure, but citizens should expect to see an increased police presence in neighborhoods with a rise in crime.
We must not tolerate crime in our community. We must stand together as law enforcement and citizens to protect our city.