-2 C

Clarksdale seeing reduction in violent crimes



By Josh Troy
Clarksdale Advocate

There were 73 fewer violent crimes reported in the City of Clarksdale for all of 2022 than there were one year earlier, according to a report from Police Chief Robbie Linley. According to Linley’s crime statistics report, there were 184 violent crimes reported in 2021, but just 111 were reported in 2022. Linley’s report showed 197 burglary reports in 2021 and 205 in 2022. However, the report also shows a decrease in burglary arrests from 2021 to 2022, and it says there were 31 burglary arrests in 2021 and 24 in 2022.

Captain of Criminal Investigation LJ Peters said although the majority of recent crimes have been burglaries, the police department’s presence helped deter violent acts. Peters said most of the burglaries are residential. “That comes from the poverty level around here,” he said. “This is a poverty-stricken area, so you do run into a lot of poverty crimes. Some are just trying to make a living.” Peters said the last violent incident reported was domestic. “For the most part, things have been down,” he said. “That’s primarily attributed to officers doing what they’re supposed to do, being in areas, being seen.”

Peters said Linley put four goals in place for officers to follow. They are to talk to people the way you would want yourself and your family to be treated, reduce the fear of crime, reduce crime, and go home safely at the end of the day. When it comes to an officer talking to others the way he or she would want to be treated, Peters referred to Tyre Nichols, a black man who died three days after being beaten in a traffic stop in Memphis in early January. Four officers are being charged with the murder of Nichols.

“With everything that’s happening in Memphis, that’s one we try to live,” said Peters, referring to the importance of officers talking to others the way they would want to be treated. “I tell my guys, the investigators, please, and thank you go a long way. We’re investigating other things and enforcing laws and stuff, you still be courteous and say please and thank you.”

In an effort to reduce the fear of crime, Peters said officers put cards on businesses during the night, so owners know officers are on them. “You reduce the fear of crime by being vigilant, showing out, showing the citizens you’re out,” he said. Peters said there is also a police presence during festivals and block parties. Peters said officers being in the community, receiving tips from citizens, and using the information helps lower crime. “The way you’re going to reduce crime is you’re going to get out there and take all the information that you got and go actually put it to work,” he said.

Peters said officers must make an effort to be safe when they are doing their jobs. “You don’t get complacent,” he said. “You don’t get tunnel vision. You make sure everything you’re doing is right in focus. You watch your back. Just make sure that you’re able to do your job the best way, but you do it the safe way to go home at the end of the day.” Peters said, in some instances, officers are killed on the job and do not come home. As an example, Peters mentioned how Greenville police officer Myiesha Stewart was killed in the line of duty in Oct. 2022.

Peters first became an officer in Vicksburg in 2007, worked his way to his current position with the Clarksdale Police Department, and has no regrets about putting his life on the line every day. “Every day, we get on the streets, people need to understand that it’s a good possibility when we hit that spot, we might not go home,” he said.“It’s something you have to love. You have to love what you do. Me personally, I love what I do. Me loving what I do makes it feel like I don’t do a job. Because they always say loving what you do, you never work a day in your life. As long as I’ve been here and am doing my job, I love what I do, and I always have. I’ve been in police several years.” Going forward, Peters said one of his goals to help the department build on its success is to have more technology.

Peters said he would like to have drones fly above neighborhoods one day, surveillance cameras, and computers in police cars, so officers do not have to be at their desks to do their jobs. “I want to have it where we can get more classes, more training to make the officers up to par,” he said. 

About LJ Peters

Peter was promoted to captain of criminal investigation on Nov. 1, 2022. He worked with former Clarksdale Police Chief Sandra Williams during his time with the Vicksburg Police Department. Williams hired Peters to work for the Clarksdale Police Department as a patrol officer in Jan. 2020. He was later promoted to a criminal investigator. He left the department in early 2021. Linley rehired Peters in early 2022 to run the police department’s special operations. “I actually missed the job,” said Peters on coming back to the department. Peters said he laid a foundation his first time in Clarksdale and reached out to Linley about returning.

“I had built a foundation here, so I knew people,” he said. “I already knew people in the streets. I knew the officers. I knew what to expect coming back here, so I just came back here. ”One of Peters’ biggest achievements with the department came when he saved a baby who had been shot in 2020. “The child had got shot in the chest,” he said. “When I arrived, looking at the condition of the child, I made the determination I wasn’t going to wait on Pafford (Emergency Medical Services) and I would go straight to the hospital. I picked the child up, put him in the car, took him straight to the hospital.”

Related articles

Recomended Articles