MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis is setting the record straight on youth crime in the city after the department’s juvenile crime program is put on hold.
Monday, we reported on the new MPD Juvenile Crime Abatement Program. However, a leaked document revealed officers could target juveniles for reasons such as selling candy, inappropriate clothing, or even dancing in the street.
But now Chief Davis says this is a collaborative approach to curfew enforcement.
In a message posted on the City of Memphis’ Facebook page later in the day, Chief Davis makes it clear MPD will not be targeting juveniles, but rather enforcing ordinances that already exist in an effort to keep the city a safer place for everyone.
Dinner hour is one of the busiest at Flying Saucer in downtown Memphis and manager Andrew Rupp wants to keep it that way. But he said a recent uptick in crime, specifically by minors, has impacted business.
“Recently downtown, it’s definitely been more of an issue. Just a little bit more daring than what you would probably see a few years ago,” Rupp said.
It was only within the month that a viral video captured what appeared to be underaged people driving recklessly through downtown and pointing guns toward the sky.
There has also been an uptick in shootings in the area, which Rupp said deters people from coming to the restaurant.
“There’s been times where we would have a crowd about to come in, and then because of whatever was going on outside, they would feel like they were being affected by it as well, so they would just turn around and go to a different location,” Rupp said.
It’s instances like this that prompted the post from Chief Davis, citing plans to enforce the curfew ordinance downtown as we head into the summer.
She clearly states in the post this is not to target juveniles, but instead, to “address a myriad of problems, which will promote a safe and enjoyable environment throughout our city this summer.”
As the ordinance currently stands, the curfew for minors between 17 and 18 years old is 11 p.m. on weekdays and 12 a.m. on weekends.
For anyone under 16, it’s 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends.
Rupp thinks this is a good first step to not only draw people back downtown but also keep our children safe.
“They’re young, they’re acting the way young kids act. And if you don’t guide them in a certain way, they’re more than likely to go down the wrong path and I’d hate to see it mess up downtown Memphis,” Rupp said.
The Downtown Memphis Commission plans to meet with MPD later this week to determine the best and most fair way to crack down on juvenile crime in the city.