MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - The area surrounding the corner of Walnut Street and Jasmine Street is one of several Moss Point neighborhoods that officers say is home to a lively underground drug trade. Another is Lilly Circle Projects. And there are several other neighborhoods that officers say keep them busy.
The most heavily trafficked drug in Moss Point is crack cocaine. Moss Point Police Officer Barry Clark said the number of crack-related arrests tower over the number of arrests related to other drugs in the city.
"The other felonies are about a third of what they are in the crack cocaine arrests," Clark said.
Jackson County Narcotics Task Force Commander Curtis Spiers said there's a reason crack cocaine dominates.
"Crack cocaine is a much higher profit margin. That's why we see more crack cocaine than we do powder cocaine," Spiers said. "The reason crack cocaine has a much higher profit margin is because it's so much more addictive."
Spiers said he estimates the same person who might spend $200 a day on powder cocaine, spends up to $5,000 a day on crack cocaine. Officers said a dangerous side effect of a thriving drug trade is crime.
"Your murders, your rapes, your aggravated assaults, your robberies, your burglaries, I would venture to say 90 percent of any of those crimes, when you look down to the root cause of the underlying factor that caused whatever that crime was, 90 percent of the time, it's going to be drug related," Spiers said.
This year more than 100 felony crack cocaine arrests have been made in Moss Point. Eighty-nine of those occurred during the county-wide operation Moon Burn, headed up by the Jackson County Narcotics Task Force.
During the sting, more crack-related arrests were made in Moss Point than any other part of the county. Moss Point Police said the arrests have tremendously reduced crime in the city.
"For two weeks, it was a different town after these arrests were made," Clark said. "You cut down on theft, you cut down on residential burglaries, you cut down on car jackings, things of this nature. This drug causes people to do things they wouldn't normally do."
Moss Point Police, with help from the Jackson County District Attorney's office, recently shut down a drug-friendly nightclub. Officer said the crack-down on drugs is far from over.
"This is the kind of stuff we need," Clark said. "We need to get into these places where the druggies hang out, where it's being brought in as a distribution center, where it's being used. And stop it."
You can help them fight the problem.
"The neighbors, the people who know that its happening on the corner," Clark said. "Pick up the telephone, call us anonymously. We'll be there."
To report drug activity in your neighborhood, contact the Moss Point Police Department. The number is (228) 475-0300. You can also report tips to the Jackson County Narcotics Task Force. Their number is (228) 769-3302, or send an anonymous tip by email.