GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier Police committed Tuesday to providing more protection in crime infested neighborhoods on the southeast side of town. The move comes one week after a murder in the area of Ladnier Road and University Street.
The police chief has pledged to open a new substation at the old Boys & Girls Club site on Ladnier. It's just feet away from College Park Elementary School, and residents are pleased to hear they'll soon see more officers on their streets.
As resident Leon Newberry sits outside his home on University Street, he reflects on how things have changed since moving here 33 years ago.
"Crime ain't never been that bad," Newberry said.
Gautier Police say now at least 50 percent of violent crimes happen on the southeast side of town. It was on Newberry's street just last week that police say a drug deal went bad and ended with one man dead.
"It just makes it difficult because there are no street lights out here. And it be kind of hard if you stay here late at night, coming home, and you never know who be watching," Newberry said.
Police Chief Dante Elbin and his team said no one should be afraid to live, work, or go to school on the southeast side of town. That's why the police department will soon open a new substation on Ladnier Road.
"We are going to formulate additional officers and supplement the shifts and saturate these neighborhoods and try to get these guys to move on, or we are going to lock them up," Elbin said.
College Park Elementary's principal said that is great news. The new police station is just feet away from the school yard.
"We have about 365 children in our school and do have a lot of measures in place on a daily basis," Principal Suzanne Ros said. "Having the police presence in the neighborhood is just going to be an additional tool that we have when students are walking home and when parents are walking to and from school in the area that makes them feel safer."
Neighbors, like Newberry, also want to feel safer, so he can continue to sit outside his home in peace.
"It seems to me it should be a good idea," Newberry said.
The police chief plans to have the substation open in about two weeks.