PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Pass Christian Police Chief Tim Hendricks is speaking out about the growing crime problem in his city. Tuesday, the chief announced a plan for his police department to partner with other law enforcement agencies and the community at large to fight back against drugs and violence in the small city.
"The police department will not sit idly by while a criminal subculture takes hold and commits acts of violence and drug activity," Chief Hendricks wrote in a news release Tuesday.
As part of that pledge, officers executed three search warrants Tuesday morning which resulted in the arrests of seven people.
Combine the arrests with recent violent crimes and residents are left wondering about their safety.
"In 50 or 60 years, I had never heard of something of that sort. All that shooting, killing and carrying on," said Pass Christian resident Mike Bowser.
Bowser has lived in the same area of Pass Christian his entire life and now he sees police in his neighborhood all hours of the day. On Tuesday morning seven drug-related arrests, three of those felonies, were all made within walking distance of his house off North Street. Bowser knows where there are drugs, there will be other problems.
"Drugs, I imagine, is the cause of everything making people steal, kill and all this unrest," Bowser said.
The 2016 Mardi Gras parade shooting that left two people dead, a shooting in November, and another shooting on New Year's Day have motivated Police Chief Timothy Hendricks to eliminate what he says is the root of those violent crimes -- drugs.
"We want to take a very proactive stance in eliminating it and deterring it," Hendricks said.
Hendricks added that his department is committed to taking a zero tolerance approach to drugs and violence. Even with the recent crimes, Hendricks doesn't think the community at large is in danger.
"These are isolated incidents that got out of hand that people don't have to worry about," said Hendricks. "If you're not dealing drugs, your chance of experiencing it or getting caught up in it is very slight."
While Bowser is going to be more aware of his surroundings, he's confident the added efforts of the Pass Christian Police will result in bringing the troublemakers to justice.
"That's all they have to do is keep that pressure going and we'll clear that stuff up," said Bowser.
Those arrested on Tuesday and their charges are as follows:
Henry Tops - felony possession of cocaine
Crystal Biggs - simple possession of marijuana
Amber Bosarge - felony possession of methamphetamine
Kevin Gary - simple possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia
Christopher Gary - possession of paraphernalia
Tiffany Lopez - possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia
Rachel Tate - felony child abuse
The chief is also reminding the community that their tips and information about criminal activity prove invaluable to investigators. Information can also always be given to Pass Christian investigators by calling (228) 452-3301, or through Crime Stoppers at 877-787-5898. Tips can also be submitted online at mscoastcrimestoppers.com.