MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee law enforcement agencies are now being encouraged to apply for a piece of a $100 million violent crime reduction grant.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Memphis could qualify for $5 million of that grant. Strickland said his main priority will be to tackle juvenile crime.
“Many juveniles start at 12 years old breaking in cars to 18, 19, or 20 years old, [they’re] shooting somebody. That happens over and over.” Mayor Strickland said. “We need to intervene when they’re 14 or 15 when they’re doing these minor crimes and get him back on the right path.”
Strickland plans to use the grant to work with agencies such as MPD, MSCS, and Youth Villages in efforts to hire individuals that will assist in getting the youth on a good track.
Earlier this year, local leaders called for more action toward juvenile crime, saying stricter enforcement of a curfew could help.
We reached out to the Memphis Mayor’s Office and the Memphis Police Department for their response. MPD said officers can only issue a summons for the violation and then call a parent or guardian to pick them up.
Strickland added that the issue with enforcing a curfew would be that juveniles detained after hours wouldn’t have a place to go. This is due to the Shelby County Juvenile Court not taking juveniles in unless they commit serious offenses.
“But even like breaking into cars, we can’t take them into custody because we have no place to take them because juvenile court will not take them. That’s one of our challenges,” Strickland said.
Watch Mayor Strickland’s full interview on Live at 9 in the video player above this story.