Leaders plead for cooperation as violent crime rises in Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As murder and other violent crimes continue to plague the city of Memphis, law enforcement and citizen groups are working to bridge the gap between police and people in the streets.

Even with COVID-19 restricting residents and social justice protests marching across the Mid-South, violent crime continues to take lives in Memphis.

“To affect change, we need more people to get off the sidelines,” Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said. “We need more people to be passionate about what is occurring in Memphis. We need more people to speak out about gun crime.”

“Instead of it going back this way, it’s going the other way, the wrong way, I think,” said Stevie Moore with the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission and Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives (FFUN).

According to data released by law enforcement, 120 people have been killed in the Bluff City in the first six months of 2020. At that rate, this could be a record year for murder in Memphis.

FFUN, an anti-gun violence group that has been active in Memphis for years, is hoping to bridge the gap between law enforcement and communities terrorized by gun violence.

“If we can pull back the guns, we can stop all this,” Moore said.

Moore’s group is setting up an anonymous tip hotline, hoping residents will be more forthcoming and feel better protected if they’re dealing with people from their neighborhoods.

“You can call that,” Moore said. “Once you give it to me, I’m gonna take it where it needs to go. You don’t have to be involved at all.”

2020 has already been one of the most violent years in Memphis’ history, and it’s not over yet.

“We need to get more involved,” Director Rallings said. “We need the community’s help.”

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