MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Leaders across Shelby County and members of the public are gathering together this weekend to discuss juvenile crime.
Whether it’s a shooting, car theft, or car break-in, they often involve juveniles.
Leaders say fighting this problem is something they can’t do alone, which is why they are calling on the public to come to a forum involving Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis, a Juvenile Court judge, and many others.
“We have got to get our community involved,” said Stevie Moore with Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives.
“This concerns each and every one of us because in order for our community to be better, we all have to buy in,” said Marquiepta Williams with YWCA.
The community forum with the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission will take place on Saturday, Jan. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at New Salem Baptist Church located at 2237 South Parkway East.
The Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, who is running for mayor, says it’s time to have this candid conversation about juvenile crime and exchange thoughts with the public.
“The people that are living in the neighborhoods that are seeing the crimes that are going on and identify to them the resources that are available for them,” Bonner said.
John Covington with the Memphis Police Officers Association told us officers need citizens to have a voice and work with police to find solutions.
“We need help out there. It’s a frustrating time. We’re seeing juvenile crime explode, and there’s so many factors that go into that,” Covington said. “Officers feel a great deal of frustration in what can seem like sometimes a revolving door in the judicial system, what can seem like not enough resources, commitment to offer more programs, more paths of opportunity to young people.”
Memphis Shelby Crime Commission President Bill Gibbons says truancy is part of the problem and cites the need for more mentors. He also notes the rise of concern for vehicle theft and stolen vehicles.
“I’m one of the victims. Last year I went outside to get in my car and found the window had been busted out. My car was one of eight in my neighborhood that got hit one night,” Gibbons said.
Leaders say intervention and prevention is the key to getting these crime numbers down.