MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Police Director Michael Rallings revealed some alarming statistics during a news conference on Wednesday. So far this year 120 people have been murdered in the city and more than a dozen of those were children.
Of the 18 children, 14 were murdered, one was deemed a justifiable homicide and three were ruled accidental. A number of them were killed in drive-by shootings and eight remain unsolved.
The youngest was just 9 months old.
“These children will not see the future. They will never enjoy what life has to offer. They are gone and they will never return,” Rallings said.
According to the data, 120 people have been killed in 2020; 108 of those victims were black, six were white, five were Hispanic and one was Asian. Thirty-four involved known gang members and 11 were domestic violence related. Fifty-three were committed by someone who knew the victim.
Over the July 4th weekend, 26 people were shot, four were killed and 80 people were victims of aggravated assault.
At this rate, Memphis will break the record number of homicides set in 2016, he said. We had 228 homicides that year.
Touching on the topic of police reform, Rallings said those conversations are important, even critical for the future of our city. But the focus can’t be just on what officers have done wrong. In order for true change to be made the conversation can’t end there, he said.
Officers cannot be in local homes 24 hours a day. They cannot force parents to get involved in the lives of their children. They can do what they can to make a difference, but ultimately citizens have to work too.
He asked pointedly where the outrage and protests from the local community were for the 120 victims who have been murdered so far this year.
“Their lives should matter to society,” Rallings said. “Where is the outrage for these victims? Why isn’t Crime Stoppers being overrun with phone calls?”
Without commitment from the community and a willingness to step up to put an end to the violent crime, change can’t happen, Rallings said.
“The loss of even one life is too many regardless of age, but when we lose a child before they even know what life is and can take advantage of what is out there, is almost unbearable. I’d ask us all to pray for the families of these young people,” Strickland added.
“We need your help. There are people out there who know who committed these terrible acts. Someone knows who did all of these. We need you to step up and do the right thing.”
If you know anything about these murders please call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.