Clarksdale, MS looking to lower crime rate in 2013 - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Clarksdale, MS looking to lower crime rate in 2013

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After a year filled with unthinkable crime, people in Clarksdale are hoping for a more peaceful 2013. After a year filled with unthinkable crime, people in Clarksdale are hoping for a more peaceful 2013.
There were 6 homicides in 2012 for the city of roughly 20,000 people. There were 6 homicides in 2012 for the city of roughly 20,000 people.
The most recent homicide was an 80-year-old woman found beaten and burned in her home. The most recent homicide was an 80-year-old woman found beaten and burned in her home.
CLARKSDALE, MS -

(WMC-TV) - After a year filled with unthinkable crime, people in Clarksdale are hoping for a more peaceful 2013.

"We've had some crimes here in Clarksdale that have been totally unacceptable," said Clarksdale Police Chief White Read.

There were 6 homicides in 2012 for the city of roughly 20,000 people.

Since April there have been 20 gunshot victims, 26 homes shot into, and 15 armed robberies.

The most recent homicide was an 80-year-old woman found beaten and burned in her home. Police say juveniles have been involved in a majority of the crimes

"It's a new year, 2013, we've got a new plan," Read said.

Read took over as police chief in September.  He's moving personnel and shifts around as well as holding high ranking supervisors responsible for what happens on their watch.

"We've got to regain the trust in the community, without that you don't have a department," Read said.

Current Mayor Henry Espy is retiring.  

The May mayoral race is an important one for the people of Clarksdale.

Attorney Bill Luckett and state representative Chuck Espy are two candidates already throwing their name into the race.  Both will run as Democrats, and are focused on curbing crime and improving the look of the city in hopes of attracting tourists, and new industry.

Chuck Espy wants to look at more programs for the town's youth.  He believes activities will keep young people out of gangs and trouble.

"A lot of people are very bored in this city, there's no activities for these children to do," Espy said.

Luckett doesn't disagree, but he had some other ideas.

"I want to seek out and find every possible grant funding we can find to employ additional police officers," Luckett said.

Chuck Espy is the son of Mayor Henry Espy and is a state representative.  He said his father has done his best in Clarksdale, but wants to try his hand at making some changes for the city.

"This city will not grow and it will not receive any form of prosperity when there's division, and there's been a lot of division lately," Chuck Espy said.

Luckett is a well known attorney in town and recently ran for governor.  He told Action News 5 he decided to run after being petitioned by a group of citizens.

"I don't think we're any worse than any other city, but we've just had a couple of heinous crimes against older citizens, and the people are very concerned because of the high profile of some of those crimes," Luckett said.

Both Luckett and Espy stressed the importance of reaching out to the community's youth, improving education, and adding jobs.

"When you don't have employment, and you don't have a purpose, and you don't feel one, you're going to have a lot more crime," Luckett said.

"If you cannot get down to that core element of all of these activities that are going on in this city, you cannot solve the problem," Chuck Espy said.

Stay with Action News 5 for the latest on the Clarksdale Mayor race.

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