MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Crime victims and those concerned about crime gathered in East Memphis Wednesday night to find out what the Memphis Police Department, the Shelby County District Attorneys Office, and the Crime Commission are doing about it.
Nearly 100 people took part in the Crime Forum at the Church of the Holy Communion on Walnut Grove.
“It’s time to drop the hammer,” said one man in attendance.
The city’s new police Chief C.J. Davis admits violent crime is a big problem in Memphis.
“In 2021, there have been 15,000 shootings,” said Chief Davis.
That number compares to just over 9,000 in 2016.
MPD stats also show that violent incidents involving guns have gone up 72% over the last four years.
Also, this year, nearly 1,400 guns have been stolen from vehicles. As a result, MPD is asking law-abiding citizens not to leave guns in their cars.
“67% of the guns we seize off the streets have been stolen from someone’s vehicle. That’s a lot of guns,” said Chief Davis.
Chief Davis wants to hire 300 additional officers over the next two years, bring back retired reserve officers to help with community policing, and address the reckless driving on city streets.
“We just got a commitment from the Tennessee Highway Patrol. After the first of the year, we will have 16 officers dedicated to our area. That’s huge,” said Davis.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich says they’re putting violent repeat criminals on notice that they’re watching them and will send them right back to prison and are going after serious juvenile offenders.
“As of September 2021, our office had requested and granted by court judges, 25 juveniles to be transferred to adult court to be handled and tried as adults,” said Weirich.
The youngest person transferred, Weirich said, was fourteen for murder in the first degree.
The Crime Commission said members of the community can get involved in fighting crime by contacting city and county leaders and lawmakers to voice their concerns, they can get involved in neighborhood watch programs, and even volunteer to mentor a child.