A 2022 crime report shows Clarksdaleans enjoyed improved crime statistics with 73 fewer violent crimes reported in the City of Clarksdale for all of 2022 than there were one year earlier, according to the report released by Police Chief Robbie Linley.
According to Linley’s crime statistics report, there were 184 violent crimes reported in 2021, but just 111 were reported in 2022.
Linley’s report shows there were 197 burglary reports in 2021 and 205 in 2022. However, the report also shows there was a decrease in burglary arrests from 2021 to 2022. It says there were 31 burglary arrests in 2021 and 24 in 2022.
Captain of Criminal Investigation LJ Peters said the majority of recent crimes have been burglaries; the police department’s presence helped deter violent acts.
Peters said most of the burglaries are residential and the last violent incident reported was domestic.
“For the most part, things have been down,” he said. “That’s primarily attributed to officers doing what they’re supposed to do, being in areas, being seen.”
Peters said Linley put four goals in place for officers to follow. They are to talk to people the way you would want yourself and your family to be treated, reduce the fear of crime, reduce crime and go home safely at the end of the day.
In an effort to reduce the fear of crime, Peters said officers put cards on businesses during the night so owners know officers are keeping watch on them.
“You reduce the fear of crime by being vigilant, showing the citizens you’re out,” he said.
Peters said there is also a police presence during festivals and block parties.
Being in the community, receiving tips from citizens and using the information helps lower crime according to Peters.
“The way you’re going to reduce crime is you’re going to get out there and take all the information that you got and go actually put it to work,” he said.
Peters said officers must make an effort to be safe when they are doing their jobs.
“You don’t get complacent,” he said. “You don’t get tunnel vision. You make sure everything you’re doing is right in focus. You watch your back. Just make sure that you’re able to do your job the best way, but you do it the safe way to go home at the end of the day.”
Captain L.J. Peters
Captain Peters first became an officer in Vicksburg in 2007, worked his way to his current position with the Clarksdale Police Department and has no regrets about putting his life on the line every day.
“It’s something you have to love. You have to love what you do. Me personally, I love what I do. Me loving what I do makes it feel like I don’t do a job. Because they always say loving what you do, you never work a day in your life. As long as I’ve been here and am doing my job, I love what I do and I always have. I’ve been in police several years.”
Peters was promoted to captain of criminal investigation Nov. 1, 2022.
He worked with former Clarksdale Police Chief Sandra Williams during his time with the Vicksburg Police Department.
Williams hired Peters to work for the Clarksdale Police Department as a patrol officer in Jan. 2020. He was later promoted to a criminal investigator. He left the department in early 2021.
Chief Robbie Linley rehired Peters in early 2022 to run the police department’s special operations.
“I actually missed the job,” said Peters on coming back to the department.
Peters said he laid a foundation his first time in Clarksdale and reached out to Linley about returning.
“I had built a foundation here so I knew people,” he said. “I already knew people in the streets. I knew the officers. I knew what to expect coming back here so I just came back here.”
One of Peters’ biggest achievements with the department came when he saved a baby who had been accidentally shot in 2020.
“The child had got shot in the chest,” he said. “When I arrived, looking at the condition of the child, I made the determination I wasn’t going to wait on Pafford (Emergency Medical Services) and I would go straight to the hospital. I picked the child up, put him in the car, took him straight to the hospital.”