Hickory Hills Residents Say Crime On The Rise

Billy Delancy is putting the last coat of paint on his Greycliff Drive Home. Once it's finished, he plans to sell and get away. Katrina was one thing, but he says crime is what's driving him out.

"I believe the crime has doubled out here than where it was before the storm," DeLancy says. "I've bought three chainsaws since I've lived here, two lawnmowers, two bicycles, numerous boxes of tools, because every time you buy them they come up missing here."

Working at Martin Bluff Quick Stop, Lynn Jerome hears all of the gossip around Hickory Hills. The rise in crime, though, is not just talk. Jerome witnesses it everyday.

"I have heard of sirens going off all through the nights, car chases by the police," Jerome says.

And all of it scares her.

"I don't like hearing gun shots. I live with my grandbabies and it makes me nervous to even let them go outside and play. It's gotten really bad."

Gautier Mayor Pete Pope agrees. He says calls to the police department from the Hickory Hills subdivision have increased since Hurricane Katrina. But he says it's nothing the police department can't handle.

"I don't feel like it's reached an epidemic stage," Pope says.

But residents still want something done about it.

"Maybe a curfew or something," Delancy suggests.

"More patrol of the neighborhoods, maybe a curfew," Jerome says.

"The City Manager has asked the Chief of Police to put more patrols in this particular area," Pope says.

But Pope says a curfew would only be a last resort, and he's confident the city's well protected.

City Planning Director Ralph Hode says there are some 70 new mobile homes in Hickory Hills. Hode says there are at least 200 more people living in the area.