Concerns over a rise in violent crime in Tupelo have driven community engagement.
The five murders so far in 2017 are the most in more than 20 years. Aggravated assaults and robberies also have more than doubled in recent years.
Daily Journal reporters William Moore and Caleb Bedillion (9:34) have been analyzing crime statistics and the responses by police, city leaders and community members. They join Derek and Brad on today’s episode to discuss the topic in depth.
After seeing rampant crime in the late 1990s, the level of crime in Tupelo steadily declined in the early 2000s before creeping back up. Officials say the increase is due to growth in the city, coupled with changing national attitudes, social media and a more relaxed approach to policing during the second half of 2016. They also insist Tupelo remains safe.
In the Haven Acres neighborhood of Tupelo, residents came together in the late 1990s to make their neighborhood safer and are trying to do the same thing again. They are looking at a model that includes cooperation between community leadership, law enforcement and social service providers.
Also on today’s show, William and Corinth Today news editor Josh Mitchell (28:29) talk about efforts to fight the state’s opioid addiction epidemic.
A new study reported that Alcorn and Tishomingo counties are among the highest opioid-prescribing counties in the nation, and Josh talks about causes and responses to that study.
Meanwhile, several agencies held a town hall meeting in Tupelo last week to let Mississippians understand the impact opioids are having on the state. William attended the meeting and reports on what leaders are focused upon in their efforts to address it.
Termed an epidemic by most experts, opioids have been responsible for 85 percent of all overdose deaths in Mississippi over the last four years. In Mississippi in 2016, more than 250 million dosage units of opioid medications were prescribed – which works out to nearly 90 pills for every man, woman and child in the state.
And photographer Lauren Wood (39:11) joins the show to discuss her recent photo essay that chronicled a group that meets at Tupelo Sportscards and Games each week for various card games, including Magic: the Gathering.