(Memphis) According to a list developed by Neighborhood Scout, three of the top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in America are in Memphis, TN and West Memphis, AR.
No. 11 on the list is the area near Gaston Park, bound by South 3rd to the west, the railroad track to the north, South Wellington to the east, and East McLemore to the south.
There, Neighborhood Scout states a person has a 1 in 12 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.
No. 23 is the area near St. Paul Street and Walnut Avenue. It’s bound by South Lauderdale and Mississippi Boulevard to the west, the railroad track to the south, Walnut to the east and St. Paul to the north.
There, they claim a 1 in 15 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.
An area in West Memphis bound by I-40 to the north, Ingram Boulevard to the west, East Broadway to the south, and Club Road to the east, is ranked No. 21.
The website explains that they gathered data from the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice. They define “violent crime” as armed robbery, aggravated assault, forcible rape and homicide.
They said they developed a series of algorithms to estimate violent crime risk, but did not explain the algorithms themselves.
In both South Memphis neighborhoods listed, people told News Channel 3 the problems come from unemployment, poverty and blight.
The Emmanuel Episcopal Center sits within neighborhood no. 23.
Whether or not the list is accurate, Father Colenzo Hubbard said, “There’s been a lot of gang activity in this community, and because of that creating violence and criminal activity is a part of that, yes.”
But his program for 400 area children aims to break that cycle.
He said, “Education doesn’t seem to matter. Then that’s a real problem. So people lack hope.”
For the last six years, his participants have had a 100 percent graduation rate.
In 2013, he has already had to hold a funeral service for a victim of violent crime. He said the problem lies in children copying bad behavior of adults around them.
“Most of them who don’t work seem to be successful, but not in doing something legitimate.”
Less than two miles away at the Gaston Park Library, after-school programs also seem to be the key.
Tonur Mason said that her grandchildren enjoy their program, Knowledge Quest.
“These children love Gaston Park. They come here because the grown folks help them with everything.”
She sees a few fist fights from time to time, but no gun violence.
Mason feels the violence is more an image than reality.
“I get a lot of sleep; I get a lot of rest, not a lot of shooting, not a lot of fighting.”