Whitlow, a lifelong Republican, has made a zero-tolerance crime policy the centerpiece of his platform, saying economic growth will follow once a safe, residence- and business-friendly atmosphere returns. It’s a tough sell, and he’s first to admit the policy has its pros and cons.
Zero tolerance aims to stop small-time crime before it spreads into a larger problem and to fully enforce the laws already on the books. It worked for Republican strongman Rudy Giuliani in New York City, so it can work in Jackson, he said.
“I don’t think zero tolerance in itself is the only solution,” said Mark McCreery, chairman of the SafeCity Watch board. “The (Hinds County) Detention Center has been full for years. You can’t just arrest more people and expect the (crime problem) to go away. You must work with the entire justice system, not just law enforcement.”
To surmount that challenge, Whitlow will need his team-building skills. He’ll have to get city and county judges, the Hinds County sheriff and district attorney all thinking zero tolerance.