MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s a sobering statistic many Memphians and those at City Hall find unacceptable, but with no easy solution.
Nearly 30 people have been killed in criminal homicides in the first few weeks of 2016 including four people last weekend.
“So it’s really hard and next to impossible to stop these; although it’s completely unacceptable as to what’s happen the last 30 days,” said Mayor Jim Strickland.
Last year he campaigned for mayor on a platform of improving public safety.
The mayor has been on the job for about five weeks and admits the Police Department faces major challenges ranging from manpower to the types of crimes being committed.
“Homicides are the crimes we can least control because some of them are committed between people who know each other or gang related.”
Part of Strickland’s campaign platform was to bring the MPD’s Blue Crush program back to the front lines.
It’s a statistic based approach to crime fighting that concentrated patrol officers on crime hot spots and move as crime shifts.
For Blue Crush to be effective, it requires additional manpower and the police force has lost about 400 officers.
“The long term solution to getting Operation Blue Crush in operation is by having extra police officers. We’re under 2100. We need more than than to fully implement it,” said Strickland.
Call it a reality check in fighting crime from the streets of Memphis to City Hall.
“We’re going to take it back from these violent criminals. It’s going to take some time, But we are going to do it.”