Memphis homicide rate continued to rise in 2019

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The homicide rate for the city is on the rise, and residents and officials are looking for solutions.

In 2019, there were 191 homicides in Memphis, compared to 186 in 2018 and 180 homicides in 2017.

In Shelby County’s jurisdiction, deputies investigated 10, which is also up from the year before.

The violence  is so bad that health experts are calling it a crisis. A few months ago, U.S. Attorney General William Barr came to Memphis to announce a new plan to reduce gun violence.

At the time, the Attorney General said he came to Memphis because the Bluff City’s crime and murder rates are several times higher than the national average.

“The idea is to use our existing gun laws to incapacitate our more dangerous, violent offenders,” Barr said.

Looking ahead to reduce overall violence, Memphis’ police director has also spent the last few years calling on state lawmakers to repeal the law allowing guns in vehicles.

Mayor Jim Strickland is extending hours of libraries and community centers to hopefully engage with young people and get them on the right track early.

The last numbers released by the Shelby County Crime Commission showed other crimes were actually down. The newest overall figures should be released later this month.

Pamela Smith, who lost her son Maalik Smith two years ago, is one of many is hoping to get justice in 2020.

“There’s so many young, vibrant, young men and women that are out there that are losing their lives over senseless, just gun violence.”

Smith says nothing can bring back a loved one. She wants to give a word of advice to other hurting families.

“Talk about the good times, talk about the positive times, keep their memory alive that way,” Smith said.

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