MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With two more homicides recorded in the city since last night, Memphis adds to an already record-breaking year for crime.
Police report 323 homicides, with 284 of them being murders. That’s already about 100 more than 2019. To put that in perspective, the city of Los Angeles, which has six times the population of Memphis, reported 322 homicides as of Dec. 12.
Despite the data, some believe there is still hope.
For many families across Memphis, there’s been loss and pain. Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings says the high crime statistics are because of gangs, guns, drugs, and domestic violence.
Sandy Bromley said her staff at the Shelby County Crime Victims and Rape Crisis Center has been stretched thin.
“For sure. Constantly calling, particularly homicide survivors. This is a tough year,” Bromley said.
Bromley says the increased crime traces to root causes exacerbated by the pandemic, like food and housing insecurity.
“Having mental issues because having other life struggles going on so take it out on those they love, strangers on street,” Bromley said.
But Bromley says there is reason for hope; for the first time, they’re working in unison with 16 other Shelby County agencies, and they have CARES Act funding.
“We’re not just getting people a $50 handout but what is it this family needs to stabilize moving forward,” Bromley said. “Even after horrible things, trauma, crime, pandemic, it is possible to bounce back from this.”
That group of 16 partner agencies has scheduled a unity walk in Whitehaven on February 6.