MERIDIAN — Armed robberies, fatal shootings prompt call for action
In December, Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry called a press conference in which she declared, "The gloves are off. We are taking our streets back!"
The press conference was in response to a spate of armed robberies, shootings and murders within the city.
Barry asked the Meridian City Council to amend the city's budget so an additional $100,000 could be earmarked to pay officers overtime to put more patrolmen on the streets.
Community and church leaders have also conducted meetings and prayer vigils calling for an end to the violence that includes nine fatal shootings this year.
There have also been numerous reports of gunfire where homes and cars were struck by bullets and several nonfatal shootings in the city, including one in early December in which civil rights leader Roscoe Jones Sr. was shot after struggling with two youths reportedly attempting to steal his car.
On Dec. 3, a mother and her 10-month-old child were each shot outside Eastern Garden Apartments. Both mother and infant recovered and police said they were not the targets of the shooting.
Many community leaders have attributed the shootings, which are believed to have been mostly committed by youths, to a growing gang problem within the city.
Reports of ongoing crime has prompted an uptick in local gun sales at sporting goods stores.