Dozens attend town hall aimed at finding solutions to Memphis crime problem

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Dozens of Memphians dropped their Saturday plans to sit in classrooms.

"We felt it was more important to be here to find out what city leaders -- what kind of input did they have to combat this crime problem," Bridget Bradley, with Memphis Mother's Against Violence, said.

City and county leaders wanted to hear from the community on issues that mattered to them most.

"Since 2006, crime is down. So we want to continue that trend," Rick Masson, the interim head of the Memphis-Shelby County Crime Commission, told WREG.

However, recently released crime commission numbers showed major violent crime is up more than 20 percent compared to around this time last year.

"That is just unacceptable," Bradley said. "Something must be done."

"I want them to be outraged because I'm certainly outraged," Interim Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said.

Rallings was at a Town Hall meeting at LeMoyne-Owen College Saturday as agencies and community leaders put their heads together to fix things like police strategies, gang activity and domestic violence.

"When you think about 30 percent of Memphians living in poverty, we think about crime prevention/intervention, what's going on with corrections and what's going on with re-entry," Rallings explained crime was a complex issue.

The topics are being taken into consideration as the crime commission works to outline a five-year strategic plan to make Memphis safe.

"If the community is not involved, they are not going to buy in. They have to be involved. We want that buy in," Masson said.

The next step is compiling all of the information, taking it to public safety officials and finding out the best plan of action.

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