WAPT Puts Johnson’s Numbers To Test

In fewer than five days, Jackson voters will go to the polls and choose a mayoral candidate in the Democratic primary.

Viewers are seeing plenty of ads on TV from Mayor Harvey Johnson and his challenger, Frank Melton.

In the last week before the big vote, Johnson released a new ad that discusses crime, housing and increasing the police force.

Johnson said 1,700 structures have been torn down.

“We’ve been accused of not doing anything in terms of abandoned housing, so I think it’s important that we establish that we’ve torn down hundreds of homes,” Johnson said.

According to the city of Jackson, more than 1,900 structures have been torn down since July 1997, when Johnson took office.

That number is for all structures, houses and otherwise that were demolished by the city. The city could not provide WAPT (is that the station name, i take it?) with the specific number of houses alone.

If the city’s numbers are correct, even more dilapidated structures have been torn down than Johnson takes credit for in his ad.

Johnson reports there’s been a 35 percent drop in crime. According to Jackson police, there were more than 20,100 reported crimes in 1997, when Johnson took office. In 2004, there were 13,600 crimes reported, which is a 32.6 percent decrease in crime. Therefore, the mayor’s numbers are exaggerated by about 2 percent.

Voters will decide on May 3 if Johnson gets a chance to continue what he’s started. For a little perspective, nationwide crime dropped roughly 10 percent from 1997 to 2003.

WAPT
4/30/5