A carjacking occurred in Belhaven on Halloween night, just five days after residents gathered for a town hall meeting with the Jackson Police Department chief and Hinds County interim sheriff that was prompted by a carjacking in the area.
WAPT reported that Megan West, a news anchor, and her family had finished trick-or-treating with friends in the Belhaven neighborhood about 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 31 when four armed men approached them.
According to WAPT, West and her husband were about to put their kids in the car when the men approached them, held them at gunpoint and demanded their wallets, phones and keys to the car. The family handed over everything and ran to a nearby friend's house while telling the carjackers the keys were in the car.
Virgi Lindsay, who represents Ward 1 on the city council, said she spoke to JPD Deputy Chief Deric Hearn on Oct. 31 after she learned about the incident.
“I know they responded with full attention,” she said. “I have also spent time on the phone with representatives of other agencies. I know this was alarming to everyone, not just JPD, but to law enforcement across the city. A lot of attention is being put on this case so we can work very hard to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Jackson like many other cities across the country has seen an increase in crime during the global coronavirus pandemic. Some attribute the increase to a lack of police presence and a breakdown in adult supervision in many homes.
Just how many police officers are on the streets in Jackson is information city council members have sought but not received.
JPD Chief James Davis JPD told the crowd at the Belhaven town hall meeting that JPD was once short 100 officers but now lacks 67 officers. He did not provide any other data about staffing levels at JPD. The department has had five police recruit classes in the last year, he said.