Is truancy a root cause of youth crime in Memphis?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Suspects charged in the BP attack in April are slowly facing the consequences.

One do them told WREG even though he's under strict curfew he was able to walk at graduation this week at Northwest Prep Academy.

Now he's focused on his future and realizing these serious charges could affect that.

Odds are you've seen the video.

Teenagers and young adults attacking a man at a gas station on Poplar Avenue feet away from the school many of them attend.

It's a school for kids who've been expelled and even served time.

Many of the kids involved in the fight had a similar charge on their record: truancy.

"We know through data that truancy is a predictor of further crime," Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins told WREG.

Before Collins put his hat in the Mayor's race he was running the DA's truancy program.

He's no stranger to the outcome of this truancy trend that's plaguing our city.

He said when stuff like this happens the police and sheriff's department need to send a strong message and fast.

"Young people who commit violent acts should be detained immediately," Collins argued.

Collins said he was sick of summons and the slap on the wrist message it sends.

But a few years ago the Department of Justice came in and said Shelby County was locking up too many African American kids and had to change its ways.

That lead to the summons.

Collins had a message for those folks in Washington.

"We know our community and we know the people we deal with on a daily basis," Collins said. "And we know what happens. Allow us to make our own plan. Allow us to utilize our own strategy for our own people and city."

He said once that happens kids will know there are consequences and will think twice before jumping in on an attack like this.

Several of the men facing charges in this attack are due back in court May 29.

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