TN Representative wants crime declared a health issue in the state

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Summer is just weeks away and many young people told WREG they were searching for things to do.

For some that could mean trouble and sometimes crime.

Crime involving young people has been a big problem in Memphis.

"They are finding something to do. They are finding something to do," Patricia Shields told us.  "Like I said they don't have nothing positive to do."

But would it be considered a health issue?

One state lawmaker said yes, especially with the level of violence.

"That individual who is holding that video camera in that mob attack or that individual  that is beating someone in that mob attack, that is not a mentally healthy person. That is not normal," said Tennessee State Representative Antonio Parkinson.

Parkinson said the state needed to intervene and help treat kids who were victims of an unstable home, sexual abuse, poverty and other things that cause them to lash out.

"I hope the Governor will declare crime a health issue and let's start getting the resources from a health stand point to the intervention into those children at early ages," he said.

Mayor  A C Wharton agreed saying the underlying causes of young people's anger was something his new parenting centers were targeting.

"If they grow up seeing every adversity resolved by fighting and violence, that's the way they are going to resolve every adverse circumstance they face. That is a medical situation," he said.

And if it takes state intervention, some said go for it.

"Bringing additional funds in to look at the problem and find additional ways to help people, absolutely," said Shields.


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