Hattiesburg, Mississippi sits in the southern part of the state. It has a population of about 50,000 and is the state’s 4th largest city. Sadly, the city’s crime rates seems to be inching up. For instance, eight murders occurred in 2016. National crime figures show that Hattiesburg is only safer than 2 percent of other cities. That statistic does not make any one feel safe. Residents should consider installing a security system to protect their property. Other Crime Figures The property crime rate in Hattiesburg, 64.3%, is twice that of the national average of 24.9%. Property crime includes burglaries, thefts and car thefts. The violent crime stats are a little better. The national median violent crime rate is 3.2 %. Meanwhile, Hattiesburg’s is 2.24 %. Violent crimes include murder, rape, assault and robbery. Additionally, there are over 8,000 sex offenders living in Hattiesburg. This figure is 29% higher than the national average. Increased Gang Activity Many government officials are upset. Mainly, they believe those in power are in denial about gang activity in the city. Federal agents say gangs are responsible for prostitution, gun trafficking, home invasions and burglaries. One of the most notorious murder cases of 2015 appears to be linked to a gang. A gang member was arrested after admitting to the murder. Josh Vallum, a member of the Latin Kings, killed 15-year-old Mercedes Williamson.
Williamson was transgender and that posed a problem for Vallum. His gang forbids homosexual activity. Earlier this year, two members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Mississippi were charged with several crimes including producing methamphetamine, murder and racketeering. Basically, Hattiesburg’s gang crime index is 31.2%. The average number is 7%. Further, city leaders are calling for new laws after a gang held a convention in the city. Last May, members of the Gangster Disciples and other groups held a two-day event. Activities included a party and a concert. Council members said it was devastating for any community when a gang is allowed to have a convention. Drugs Southern Mississippi, including Hattiesburg, has an ongoing legal and illegal drug problem. This is true of many areas in the U.S. A recent news article quotes a man who was injured on the job. Doctors prescribed pain medicine and he became addicted. After the legal drugs ran out, the man turned to heroin, which is illegal. Other residents cited an addiction to crack cocaine for many of their problems. Hattiesburg police spokesman Lt. Jon Traxler says drugs are the root cause of all crime. He predicts the war on drugs will be endless. Further, he says drug addicts go to any lengths to get money to buy drugs. This leads to many burglaries and other theft-related crimes. This is another reason people should look into buying a security system. Economy Hattiesburg’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average. In addition, the median household income is around $43,000. When unemployment goes up, there is likely to be more crime. That is because some people get desperate. They need to support themselves somehow and will do it illegally. They will break into a home without thinking of the people who live there. Guns For Protection Experts equate gun ownership with gun deaths. They believe states with high gun ownership have more gun deaths. Mississippi is one of the five states leading the country in gun ownership. There are those who would rather depend on a gun than a security system. Unfortunately, the homeowner may end up getting hurt or killed in a break-in. Likewise, a lot of people handle guns and do not know how to use them. Finally, for every home that has a gun, there are ten criminals with a gun. Mississippi is also on the list of states with the weakest gun laws. Hattiesburg Police The Hattiesburg Police Department is located at 701 James Street. The city has an accomplished police department. In fact, it became the first nationally accredited department in Mississippi in 1998. The department has several units including domestic violence, crime scene investigation and homeland security. The Department has been in mourning since 2015 when Officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate were shot and killed during a routine traffic stop. Several people were charged in the crime and pre-trial proceedings started this month. The Forrest County CWC is also located in Hattiesburg at 112 Alcorn Avenue. CWC stands for community work center. These facilities house some inmates while they complete their sentence. The inmates do a lot of free labor for the city and county. Work centers usually house around 100 inmates. Neighborhood Watch There are several neighborhood watch programs in Hattiesburg. These include the Dixie Community Neighborhood Watch, 421 A.V. Hatten Rd. The contact information for Dixie Community is firstname.lastname@example.org. The Northeast Lamar Neighborhood Watch lists 615 Lamar Avenue as its address. The phone number is (601) 264-5190. The Parkwest Apartments Watch is located at 12 Park Place. The contact number is (601) 264-7722. The Reserve at Park Place watch group can be contacted at email@example.com. Recent reports show some of the safest areas in the city as Route 98/Cole Road; Dixie/McLaurin; Richburg Okahola; University of Southern Mississippi area; Rawls Spring/Glendale; Broadway Drive/Richburg Rd.; Arnold Line/West Hattiesburg; Edwards St./James St.; Riverside; Broadway Dr./Lincoln. Alarm Companies If you are interested in a security system contact one of the following: Avis Security, 175 Turtle Creek Drive, Hattiesburg, Security Blanket, 48 Liberty Place, Hattiesburg and Professional Security Corporation, 7165 U.S. Highway 49, Hattiesburg. A couple of the national chains also have offices in Hattiesburg.