C.J. LeMaster, WLBT, January 6, 2023
Despite a drop in killings last year, the capital city’s homicide rate still managed to surpass every other major city in the U.S. for the second straight year, according to a 3 On Your Side analysis of dozens of municipalities across the country.
Jackson ended 2022 with 133 homicides, a 13 percent drop from the year before, when 153 people lost their lives to violence.
That year would end up being the deadliest in the city’s history, according to records from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Jackson Police Department, and the Murder Accountability Project.
For this analysis, 3 On Your Side calculated per capita rates of killings for cities with a population of at least 130,000, including major ones like Chicago, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, as well as cities that had previously been ranked for high homicide rates, such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Calculating the per capita rate of killings means that a city with more homicides than Jackson could still have a lower rate, depending on the population.
For example, 695 people have been killed in Chicago, according to the city’s PBS station; because nearly 2.8 million people live in the Windy City, the rate per capita for that major city is 24.8 per 100,000 residents.
In other words, the rate of killings in Jackson is more than three times greater than in Chicago.
“The risk of you being a victim of a homicide, right, like the city of Jackson with the current rate where it’s at, is higher, you know, in general, relative to the risk of another city that has a lower per capita rate,” criminologist and Ole Miss criminal justice department chair Wes Jennings said.
The low number of JPD officers plays a role in that, too, Jennings added, though the actual number of active-duty officers has not been disclosed in months.