From staff reports
The Meridian Star
In Wednesday's edition of The Meridian Star our Readers' Poll posed this question: "How many calls of shots being fired do you think have been reported to the Meridian Police Department so far this year (Jan. 1-Dec. 4)?"
Several options were given as multiple choice answers. The correct number is 761.
Capt. Dean Harper of the Meridian Police Department points out that not all reported shootings turn out to be shots fired. Sometimes fireworks or a vehicle backfiring will prompt a call to police by someone who thinks the sound is gunfire.
The number of those calls is up by 170 reports from last year. Harper said 591 reports of shots being fired were received by police during the same period of time, Jan. 1-Dec. 4, 2011.
The total number of gunfire reports the MPD received for the full calendar year in 2011 was 641.
Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry issued a statement Wednesday afternoon addressing crime in Meridian.
"We have dedicated police officers who patrol our community constantly with one mission — to protect and serve," she said. "The Meridian Police Department is using every local, state and federal resource it has to protect our community from criminals."
Barry also urged citizens to work with police to stop crime.
"One of the most important tools in the fight against crime is the telephone. The most effective way citizens can help MPD is to report crime as soon as they know about it. The sooner crime is reported, the better the opportunity MPD has to solve it," the statement read.
Anyone can leave an anonymous tip for Crime Stoppers at (601) 485-1860. There also is a way to leave an anonymous tip through the Meridian Police Department Facebook page. After clicking the "About" section on the page, follow the directions on how to leave a "cybertip."