Memphis City Council Members debate how to tackle crime - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis City Council Members debate how to tackle crime

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

Memphis, TN (WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council took a tough look at crime Tuesday, as members faced the facts about the Bluff City's battle against robberies, carjackings and murders. But they got into a debate Tuesday about what the best way to fight crime is.

Some council members said the city needs to be careful not to give all of the city's resources to the police department and have nothing left over for revitalization efforts.

"We've got to figure out a happy medium and how do we protect our communities through public safety, but also protect our communities through redevelopment," Memphis Council Chair Harold Collins said. "Otherwise we'll continue to have blighted communities but we'll have a strong and incredible police force."

Council Members Joe Brown and Wanda Halbert agreed with Council Chair Harold Collins.

"You can put all the money in the world behind the crime initiatives but those other issues are going to put you in a position where you have to chase dealing with the crime," Council Member Wanda Halbert said.

Council Member Jim Strickland said the city doesn't have a choice between funding police or revitalization efforts.

"If that is our choice, Memphis will fail," Strickland said. "Because our tax base is shrinking, and the way to get people back in my opinion is to provide the basics of government. Which is public safety and schools."

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin says the police department recently trained dozens of officers to recognize and shut down crack houses.

Godwin says crime is down 17 percent since 2006, but the key to making it go down even more is to get more officers on the streets, and get laws passed that keep repeat offenders locked up.

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