Residents share safety concerns during Gulfport’s “National Night Out against Crime”

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 10:09 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The Gulfport Police Department is joining hands with the community they serve through their “National Night Out Against Crime.”

Residents were invited out Tuesday night to share some of their concerns and see how the department is working to keep them safe.

From a showcase of the equipment they work with, to how Gulfport police use it in crimefighting - it was all on display at Jones Park for the department’s event. It gives residents an opportunity to share with police problems they feel are plaguing their neighborhoods. Many of them getting a rare glimpse of the inner workings of their police department.

“[My kids] were pretty excited to get up into this thing right here - this thing was pretty wild,” resident Jared Powers said in reference to the SWAT vehicle.

“It’s really cool and I wanna be in the SWAT one day,” Holden Bruce said.

Kids were able to connect with the men in blue by playing games with the officers and feel the weight SWAT team crews carry on their shoulders when on the job.

“It was amazing to see the SWAT truck and people and stuff,” resident Georgia Idom said. “I asked them do they operate like the SWAT I see on TV. They said it’s a little different, almost close so I enjoyed getting that information and seeing it in person.”

This is what community policing is all about - bringing the community together to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the ones they serve.

“People are more than welcome to come out here and talk to us about crime in the city,” Gulfport police chief Adam Cooper said. “I do want to make them more comfortable to report things to us. There’s somewhat of a stigma talking to the police and I do want to make them more comfortable to come out and talk to us.”

Some residents took advantage of that opportunity, addressing their concerns at the event. Authorities tally seven fatal shootings in the city so far this year, a worry for many of the people who call Gulfport home.

“To see it in my surrounding community, it worries me a lot,” Idom said. “Especially with the young people to see them losing their life and stuff.”

“That’s definitely a concern of ours,” Power said. “I do know there’s some gang issues in the community and certainly Gulfport has been reaching out to deal with some of those problems.”

Tons of families showed up to the event and left with goodies given out by the police and fire departments. But some of the residents tell us they left with something more - peace of mind.

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