JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An online report about crime in Mississippi has two Jackson County police chiefs fighting back. A survey we told you about yesterday, published by the Home Security Shield Company, ranked Moss Point and Pascagoula as two of the most dangerous cities in the state, but we're quickly learning those numbers are misleading.
Moss Point Police Chief Art McClung and Pascagoula Chief Kenny Johnson are quick to point out the rankings come from a company that sells home security systems. The headline "Top Ten Dangerous Cities" is not what any police chief wants to hear about their city. Both McClung and Johnson were eager to set the record straight.
"We are the worst city in Mississippi. That is not the image we want to portray," said McClung.
McClung said the online report from Home Security Shield is simply wrong. Moss Point does not lead the state with the highest crime rate.
"Those in law enforcement know we give our numbers to Uniform Crime Report, who is the FBI. We send them to the Department of Justice, and those are where you get the true numbers," said McClung. "Even when you go to the UCR report, it says don't take the numbers for what they are, because they can be somewhat incomplete or misconstrued. So, for a company that didn't reference the UCR report, it really upset me."
Johnson shares that frustration after his city was put on the company's top 10 crime list.
"It is disappointing when you know you are working hard, you know you are doing a good job, and someone takes numbers to make you look bad," said Johnson.
Johnson also points out that Pascagoula is the county seat and home to a lot of big industry, which causes the population to swell at certain times.
"When you look at raw numbers, you have to look at all the factors. Our population in the daytime is twice or more what our actual census data would reflect," said Johnson.
No city is crime free, but the chiefs said the real statistics show positive news about safety in their towns.
"Violent crimes are down. We haven't had a homicide in over two years," said Johnson.
Johnson and McClung said crime fighting efforts like increasing manpower, boosting patrols on the streets and creating more neighborhood watch programs are making a difference and getting citizens involved.
"We work hard on a daily basis to serve this city and to make it as safe as we possibly can, and that is not going to change. No source out there that is not valid will deter us from what we are doing," said McClung.