Jackson murder rate 4th in nation

Violent crime and property crime rose in Jackson in 2008, making the city’s murder and burglary rates among the worst in the nation, according to an FBI report released this week.

Those statistics put pressure on the incoming administration of Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., especially in light of a Clarion-Ledger poll of voters prior to the May 5 mayoral primary that found respondents believed fighting crime should be the highest priority for the next administration.

The FBI report, which measures major crimes in cities with populations of 100,000 or more around the nation, showed violent crime increased in the city 9.3 percent and property crime rose 4.6 percent. The city rates buck a trend of lowering crime rates nationwide where violent crime fell 2.5 percent and property crime dropped by 1.6 percent.

The city’s rate of 36 murders per 100,000 residents ranked fourth in the nation behind New Orleans, St. Louis and Baltimore. Jackson’s burglary rate of 248 per 100,000 residents ranked second only to Flint, Mich.