Clarksdale mayor stops police from sending out daily crime reports

CLARKSDALE, Miss. — Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett is stopping the police department from sending daily police reports to the media.

The reports list crimes reported to Carksdale police, arrests made, and a message encouraging citizens to contact police with crime solving tips.

The mayor said he’s making the change because he feels not all the information in the report hasn’t been verified as a “real” crime.

“We need to go and investigate these matters to see if they can really be confirmed or verified or not,” said Luckett.

Luckett made it clear why he’s ordered Assistant Police Chief Robbie Linley to stop e-mailing daily crime reports.

The mayor said in his opinion, some of the reports are misleading and scare citizens.

Luckett said numbers of violent crimes are down in Clarksdale when compared to other cities in Mississippi, as well as in Memphis.

“We’re not hiding anything. We’re not covering anything up.  But, to have a crime, we feel we need to verify that something really did happen, it wasn’t just a “call in” or rumor that was circulating or something of that nature,” said Luckett.

The mayor pointed out one crime report from July 28th showing five houses were shot into.

The information, as provided in the press release, was reported on WREG.

But the mayor said the report wasn’t accurate.

“Typically our police chief would have alerted me to something of that proportion going on in Clarksdale. Turns out there really two houses shot into and it turns out there were two guys shooting at each other, is what was really going on there. And a car was hit in the mix. But the word got out there were five houses shot into, when in fact it wasn’t really that way or exactly that way,” said Luckett.

The mayor said he also hopes the measure will prevent rumors from taking off like wildfire on social media like Facebook.

But Jesse Wright, publisher of The Clarksdale Press Register, said responsible journalists will now have more trouble getting day-to-day crime reports, and that may end up creating more problems than it solves.

“My fear is that Facebook will just run rampant with rumors about all the crime that’s not being reported in Clarksdale.  And that can make our job harder, because I would hate to have to track down every single rumor. We will but it will make it harder in that regard,” said Wright.

Luckett said major crimes and arrests connected with major investigations will still be reported and the media can file Freedom of Information requests for routine police reports.

We tried to get a response on the mayor’s action from the Clarksdale Police Department, but so far haven’t had any success.

5 comments

  • stoplyingtopeople

    They can no longer control the flow of information, so they think the solution is to cut off the information altogether. Sounds like political obfuscation to me, through and through. Citizens have a right to know about the crimes being committed in their community, Mr. Mayor and they will know one way or another.

  • Truth.N.Advertising

    Kudos to the Mayor for trying to be ACCURATE! In this time of instant media, a release of inaccurate or even just false information has a negative effect. If a simple false report about the President being wounded can cause a fluctuation in the Stock Market, why wouldn’t a responsible Mayor want to protect his city? Everyone knows that we only see what is imminently “Hot” but unless there is pressure, we never see the results. For example, I don’t ever recall seeing the final result of the Memphis Medical Examiner who wrapped himself in barbed wire, etc. We all saw the story for the first few days, but whatever happens in the end isn’t newsworthy.

  • Indian Andy

    People have a right to know. The paper could stop printing reports of shots fired and other things that aren’t actual crimes, like “officer called to domestic disturbance,” etc. But if I plan on staying at a certain motel there, and cars have been burglarized there, I’d like to know.

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