Yesterday’s shooting marked just the third homicide of the year in Hattiesburg. That number is still five fewer than it was in 2016.
Overall, crime is down city-wide. From October 2016 to October 2017, crime is down two percent.
According Lieutenant Latosha Meyers-Mitchell of the HPD, one of the ways they have been able to stay on top of crime is by communicating with the community through social media.
“We’re on Facebook and that site is used to give out information as well as the public to give us information. We take feedback, we take suggestions, [and] we take questions,” said Lieutenant Meyers. We put out what’s going on in the city, we put out if we’re looking for anyone and we also put out community efforts on the website. So we’re getting involved in social media as well and we’re evolving as a department.”
Lieutenant Meyers says that HPD uses community based policing as another way to keep Hattiesburg stay safe.
“We believe in community based policing, and that’s what I think that it attributes a lot to our low crime rate,” said Lieutenant Meyers. “Getting to know our community, letting the community know us on a level other than just coming to make an arrest or just a symbol of authority. But they know us as caring about them and they care about us.”
The Assistant Chief of Police at the University of Southern Mississippi, Rusty Keyes, says one of the best things about the Hattiesburg area is the willingness of so many different law enforcement agencies to work together.
“If Southern Miss is safe, which it is, then Hattiesburg will be safe, Forrest County will be safe, Lamar County will be safe and vice versa,” said Keyes. “So I would say the biggest thing there is we work together. We share information and do this and investigate things together.”