Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: SeniorBSafe

By Ursula Madden - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - It's not hard to find the city's rough spots. The Hyde Park community in North Memphis struggles with the type of decline, that breeds poverty and crime.

"The people here don't seem to have the wherewithal to fight against that," said the Rev. Melvin Lee of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.

Lee has led Macedonia Missionary Baptist for nearly a quarter of a century.  He says some seniors in the congregation are intimidated by criminals that threaten their neighborhoods.

"If you were a person who were not able to keep yourself safe, you would probably have a sense of doing absolutely nothing," he said.

Not anymore.  Recently, Memphis CrimeStoppers Director Buddy Chapman launched a new hotline, SeniorBSafe, which allows senior citizens to make anonymous tips about problems in their neighborhood.

"This is a prime example of reclaiming our community," Chapman said. "To go find people with problems and solve their problems, thereby gaining their confidence, and getting them to be a part of an on-going solution."

If someone is dealing drugs or committing other crimes in the neighborhood, seniors can SeniorBSafe and report them.  And, there's another way to report problems: through a church.

According to Chapman, the key to SeniorBSafe is neighborhood churches, where people can go to their pastors, about problems happening in their neighborhood.  Those problems can then be reported to the new hotline.

"When a pastor, or some other leader in the community, can provide a safe place for you to come and to share the kinds of things going on in your particular street, then that provides the possibility for those lines of communication to be open," Chapman said.

Chapman emphasized that the hotline is not a replacement for 911.

"This is looking for a person who has a problem and is afraid to report it," he said.

If you're a senior and there's an ongoing threat in your neighborhood, you can make an anonymous call to the crisis line at 901-274-7477

Clergy can call the crisis line to report problems, or this number: 901-528-0699.

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