Gulfport Police working to combat rise in violent crimes
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi’s second largest city is seeing a startling increase in violent crimes over the last year. Gulfport Police Chief Chris Ryle says his department is taking steps to address the problem.
On the heels of another fatal shooting, the chief talked to WLOX about the increase in deadly crimes Gulfport has seen in recent years, but it’s an issue that goes beyond city limits.
“We are but not just in the city; nationwide, there is a rise in crime and, unfortunately, the violence is gun violence, which is often times resulting in death,” said Chief Ryle.
While Gulfport Police Department is hard at work investigating these crimes, they are also working to foster better relationships with youth and the community in hopes of preventing them before they happen.
“You know, we try to do as much as we can, try to be proactive in our approach,” said Chief Ryle. “We have also partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s office here in Mississippi and have launched Project Eject over the last year, where we target individuals with guns and drugs. If we or they are able to make an arrest and charge them with that, they would face federal time, which those prison sentences are more severe and they have to do more of that sentence then they would at the state level.”
Chief Ryle believes collaboration with the communities is also a necessity if we want to take a stand against violent crime. That’s what some communities in Gufport are already doing, coming together to take a stand against the violence by holding unity events, community meetings, and forming neighborhood watch groups.
“There has been some communities who have stepped up. One is Soria City,” said the chief. “They have done quite a bit in their neighborhood and we need other neighborhoods to do the same and take the lead.”
Consistency is another value that the Gulfport police chief believes is required to make a difference.
“Unfortunately, far too often we have the one and done mentality where we do one event and we don’t do anything else until something else occurs,” he said. “We have got to maintain the momentum within our communities.”
Gulfport Police also encourages anyone who has information about a crime to report it to authorities by calling the department at 228-868-5959. Anonymous tips can also be made to Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers online or by calling 877-787-5898.
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