Jackson, TN Launches Media Campaign Over Gun Violence

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Violence is surging all around us. Violent crime is a major problem almost anywhere, from relatively small cities to larger urban areas with supposedly every advantage. It seems to be everywhere, and few places seem to have an answer for it.

Sure, many places are pushing for gun control in response, but we all know that’s not the answer. If it were, violent crime wouldn’t have surged when there was no real change in gun laws in the first place.

In Jackson, Tennessee, they’re trying an interesting approach.

The Jackson Police Department is working to lower gun crime in the city with the help of a new media campaign.

“Fed-Up,” a $36,448 grant-funded initiative through Project Safe Neighborhood, is a multi-media campaign aimed at reducing gun crime through use of billboard, TV, radio and print publications.

“It basically means ‘We’re fed up with gun violence,’” said Jackson’s Deputy Chief Barry Michael. “And what we can do with the money is do billboards, put signs on the side of city buses, do radio, television and newspaper spots, all saying that we’re going to be tough on gun crime, and we’re going to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

The project is just one of the many steps the JPD have taken over the past few months to address 2019’s rise in crime, though the rate has seen a gradual downward trend since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, Jackson is a little unusual. Their homicide rate is actually down from last year, which was down from the year before. They’re not having the issues the rest of the nation seems to be having.

That said, it’s still plenty high enough.

The media blitz basically says that if you commit a violent crime, particularly with a firearm, the police are coming after you with everything they have. They’d better mean it.

See, criminals aren’t going to be dissuaded by a billboard. A TV commercial isn’t going to make them rethink their evil-doing ways.

No, they’ll test it. If the Jackson Police Department doesn’t descend upon them like the fiery hand of God, though, they’re going to start laughing at the ads.

You can threaten all you want, but if you don’t back it up with action, though, don’t expect anything to change. Let’s remember that criminals have grown up in a world that tells them that “crime doesn’t pay” and yet they still became crooks. There’s no reason to think that idle threats will make them give up violence as a way of life.

But if police follow through with it, then maybe. At that point, they’ll start seeing their friends get locked up left and right and they’ll start wondering if they’re next.

What you can’t do is falter. You can’t afford to let anyone slip through your fingers. Once that happens, everything you tried to accomplish goes out the window.

Can Jackson do it? I hope so. If so, it could provide a roadmap for other cities to follow.

If not, though, they’re out a bunch of money for no return on their investment.

Oct 21, 2021 9:30 PM ET
Oct 21, 2021 6:30 PM ET