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JONESBORO, Ark. – Even from atop an ivory tower, evidence of Jonesboro’s rampant crime problem is becoming undeniable for some.
Regional developer Josh Brown, principal at Haag-Brown Commercial Real Estate, opened many eyes last week with a fiery Facebook commentary on Jonesboro’s crime woes.
I try to be the loudest cheerleader for quality of life projects and for our city to spend money on things that make Jonesboro a more fun place to live. BUT, none of that matters if we aren’t safe. Maybe the city should declare that we have a crime crisis in our city. Then dedicate all resources towards fixing it. Whatever it takes needs to be done. Everyone’s focus should be on stopping the shootings, the armed robberies, and the home invasions. Someone in my family had a serious home invasion / burglary several weeks ago. There were so many others that it didn’t get any serious attention from the police department or even rank very high on the crimes reports for the local media. This was neither the police department or the media’s fault. There are simply too many serious crimes occurring. If we do not turn this in the right direction, we do not have to worry about running paths, biking trails, water parks, or new places to eat and shop. We will begin to lose what we already have. – Brown wrote on Thursday in a public Facebook post.
As recently as last year, a city press release touted Jonesboro as a city seeing progress in crime reduction. The truth about Jonesboro’s crime rate is that it is worse than 80-percent or more of cities, according to a series of studies and reports we cataloged here. The crime rate in Jonesboro fell slower over the past ten years than crime in Detroit or Memphis. AreaVibes rated Jonesboro at safer than 13-percent of cities. NeighborhoodScout.com rated Jonesboro at 5/100.
Prosecutor Scott Ellington and Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott announced an organized crime task force to address problems with gang crime. This came after the first two days of 2019 began with three shootings in Jonesboro, two of which were fatal.
However, a report in Sunday’s edition of The Jonesboro Sun stated that the task force is “nothing new.”
Developer Brown’s post was made on the morning of a home invasion where a family was held at gunpoint. A gun was placed to a child’s head in the incident. Police have made no arrests in the case to this day. It struck a cord with the regional developer behind such Jonesboro projects as Tacos 4 Life, Starbucks, and many, many more businesses. Brown wrote that his family had been victimized similarly, recently. It didn’t even make headlines, he wrote, because of all the other serious crime.
“Maybe the city should declare that we have a crime crisis in our city,” said Brown.
At the January 3 Jonesboro City Council meeting, Mayor Harold Perrin made this statement about the crimes that have kicked off 2019.
“My thoughts, first and foremost, are with the families. Innocent loved ones are always impacted by the actions of those who engage in illegal activity, and that is a tragedy. But, my concern, too, is with the God-loving hearts in this community. This was an act of evil, and the city is filled with too much love to let evil prevail. I am grateful to the dedicated officers of the JPD and all our first responders. There is no place in our city for gangs or the violence that they bring. I am confident and appreciative that we have the leaders, both within our police force and our community at large, to prevent this violence from escalating in our wonderful city.” – Harold Perrin, Jonesboro Mayor