MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Youth crimes in Memphis are under the microscope, after officials released new data suggesting that they make up a sizable amount of the city’s crime.
After talking with city and community leaders, they can all agree one thing: there is no one solution to address this problem. Regardless, they believe something must be done.
From carjackings to murders, there is no shortage of crime being committed by youth in Memphis.
“It affects everybody,” MPD Deputy Chief Hines said.
And it leaves others exhausted by the reality.
Data from Memphis Police suggests that youth are mainly engaging in property crimes.
Over the last 39 days, at least 105 juveniles were arrested for motor vehicle theft. It’s one too many if you ask Deputy Chief Samuel Hines.
“Our enforcement toward the property crime is not up to the point where it probably should be,” Deputy Chief Hines said. “These are very, very serious crimes that sometime end up with $50,000 or more in property damage.”
In Memphis mayor Jim Strickland’s weekly newsletter, he addressed youth crimes, calling for reform and more community engagement.
“City government has a role to play in curbing violent crime in our community. It will take all of us — working together to help our youth choose the right path instead of the wrong path in their lives,” Mayor Strickland said.
Meanwhile in North Memphis, young people are the inspiration behind an event called Stop the Killing and Do Your Dance, which was organized by Terrence Boyce.
“It’s like everyday somebody is getting killed or dying over nonsense,” Boyce said. “We just wanted to get people to come together and try to lift them up.”
Despite the joy being filled in the moment, Boyce admits he’s worried about our youth and believe they need more opportunities to thrive.
“Why they stealing, cause they want some money. Why they stealing cause they can,” Boyce said. “Why they stealing, cause they ain’t got nothing else to do. If you can steal, you can work on a car. We need to teach our young people[’s] entrepreneurship.”
While the answers to this problem may vary, the heart of the issues point back to a community’s concern about our future generations.
There are multiple initiatives under way to reduce youth crime such as outreach programs. Only time will tell if a difference is made.