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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — From interstate shootings to homicides, crime is on the rise in Memphis, according to the city’s top cop.

Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings is asking for community support to stop the trend.

Rallings said homicides and gun violence are seeing a spike in the city, and if something isn’t done soon, he said we could soon see very monumental and alarming numbers.

“There’s no other city that needs their law enforcement like Memphis,” Rallings said.

According to MPD, there have been 32 interstate shootings so far this year, compared to 26 at this same time last year.

Rallings said he has been in communication with the Tennessee Highway Patrol for assistance, but that’s not his only worry.

“I’m not only concerned about what’s going on on the interstate, I’m concerned about the increase in robberies of businesses, aggravated assaults, domestic violence,” Rallings said.

Rallings said homicide rates are up 27% year-to-date compared to 2019, but he said the thing that shocks him the most is the number of children that are killed, which so far this year is 14.  

“We continue on this pace, we may witness the highest number of child homicides that we have ever seen, and that should be alarming,” Rallings said.

Rallings said his officers are facing several obstacles. He said in the past four weeks, 12 officers have been shot at while on duty.

He also said 19 officers are out sick with COVID-19. Rallings suggested the recent protests may be to blame.

“I’m going to ask that everyone in Memphis get tested like the mayor’s been begging since March and make sure you’re not spreading COVID-19, but know that your actions have affected the Memphis Police Department in a negative way,” Rallings said.

Rallings said he is a strong advocate for the Second Amendment, but he’s been working very closely with state legislatures to help control gun violence in Memphis, especially among children.