MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There have been at least 17 murders in the city of Memphis this year, and three of those deaths were children as young as 6 years old.
City leaders have been vocal on efforts to decrease violence in the community.
Earlier this month, 10-year-old Jadon Knox was gunned down while playing outside in Orange Mound. Since then, a series of shootings and murders involving children have plagued the Memphis area, leaving community leaders looking for answers to end the violence.
Delvin Lane said he dedicated his life to helping youth in the Memphis area. In 2012, he founded 901 BLOC Squad to help spread positivity among youth.
“It’s going to take us — when I say us, I mean the men and women of Memphis — to grab them by their collar and say, listen that’s not how you do this,” Lane said.
Having once been a gang member himself, Lane said he can relate to those who are influenced negatively by their environment.
“If one person is shot in our city, to me, then we’re not as much as we can be doing,” he said.
Last year, while overall crime was down, juvenile crime rates were on the rise by 58%.
City officials said many of the crimes are due to gang violence. Lane said young people are getting involved in what he called “gang fashions.”
“You got all these neighborhood cliques,” Lane said. “Those guys don’t have the same reputation as the big guys. So they have to put in work to get the identity. If you want to be known as a killer or a shooter, then you have to shoot some people.”
Lane said while he appreciates the city’s efforts to end gun violence, he believes it comes down to having people in the community who are willing to put in the time and effort to make a difference.
“You need somebody that’s going to walk with him daily, check on them daily — call him, show up, go to the school, check on his grades, help him get a job, take him to the job interview, buy his whole wardrobe for the job interview.”
Memphis Police still need help solving the senseless acts of violence against children. If you have any information that could lead to an arrest, contact CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.