MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A record number of homicides in our city means there are a lot of families experiencing this year’s holidays without their loved ones. The Shelby County Crime Victim Center is offering holiday drop-in counseling for family members of homicide victims so they can provide support.
A lot of us are shocked and angry about the homicide statistics this year, but the Crime Victim Center also wants the community to step up as allies for these people’s families. And says if you’re hurting, they’re a free and confidential resource.
“What’s important for people to remember that no matter the number of homicides, each homicide affects a group of people and each homicide is devastating to that family and the friends of those folks," said Anna Whalley, crime victim services administrator.
The Shelby County Crime Victim Center said they see about 700 to 800 people affected by crime a month. They can be anyone from homicide victim’s loved ones to victims of something else.
“We give them information and support," said Whalley. "We educate them about the court system and we’re there with them every step of the way.”
She said it’s important for our community to come together right now for these victims’ families as well, whether that’s offering to help with household chores or bringing them dinner.
“What I hear from families is that initially after the crime, everybody’s there, but then second month third month, everybody drops off -- So stay in touch.”
The city’s also called for Memphians to look at their own lives.
“Step up," said Mayor Jim Strickland. "We need more from parents. We need more from churches. The whole community, I know they're angry and I know they're also saddened, but we need to take more action. We need more mentors for young people.”
Mayor Strickland said he’s working with local, county and national partners to combat the problem, but some of the biggest changes start at home.
“We need to intervene in the lives of young people so they pick the right path of life and not the wrong path of life, so they're not in that position to pull a trigger,” said Mayor Strickland.
WREG's been reaching out for a few days to get an interview with Police Director Mike Rallings about the high number of homicides in the city this year, but have not heard back.