SOTC preview: Gilich to point out significant drops in crime

Mayor Andrew “FoFo”  will update a number of familiar initiatives during his State of the City presentation Wednesday, but one of the most important will be following through on a commitment to keep Biloxi a safe community.

Mixed in with progress reports on infrastructure work, economic development and waterfront efforts, Gilich will announce that the city in the past year has seen decreases in the numbers of burglaries, robberies, sexual assaults and aggravated assaults, and the three homicides that were committed in Biloxi were quickly solved by the Biloxi Police Department.

The decreases were significant:

— Burglaries, down by 9 percent.

— Robberies, down by 29 percent.

— Sexual assaults, down by 46 percent.

— Aggravated assault, down by 48 percent.

“Keeping our community safe, whether it’s through the Biloxi Police Department or Biloxi Fire Department, is one of our basic responsibilities,” Gilich said. “And I’m proud of the job that our men and women do in public safety.”

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller says the reductions are a combination of the department’s pro-active policing measures and the willingness of the community to get involved and stay engaged in topics of interest.  According to Director Miller, “We have a great relationship with our community.  We engage each other on topics of mutual interest and do our best to solve problems.  I’m very proud of our community partners.”

Added the police chief: “Our officers don’t rest on the laurels.  Seventy percent of our 120,000 calls for service last year were officer-initiated, which means they acted on something before being called by a citizen or waiting for something bad to happen. They see issues, engage those involved, and do their best to ward off potential problems.  I truly believe this type of pro-active law enforcement is the difference.”


State of the City news and notes

The times, etc: Doors to the Magnolia Ballroom at the Beau Rivage open at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The program begins at 11:30 a.m. The audience, according to the sponsoring Biloxi Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, will number more than 600. The event is sold-out; no seats are available at the door. 

The program: Pastor Glenn Johnson of the Family Faith Christian Church will deliver the invocation, while St. Patrick Catholic High School student Chloe Rizk will lead the pledge of allegiance and Rose Le of Biloxi High School will introduce Mayor Gilich. The Biloxi High Show Choir will sing the National Anthem. The Biloxi High Jazz band will entertain as guests enter the ballroom.

The replay: CableOne in Biloxi, as a public service, will air the State of the City presentation on Cable Channel 69 beginning Thursday at 1 p.m. with a replay at the top of every hour through Friday at 1 p.m.