Strickland: Lack of resources causing crime increase - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Strickland: Lack of resources causing crime increase

(WMC-TV) – Major violent crime in the City of Memphis is up significantly from the past year. Now, questions and accusations are being tossed around about crime fighting tools and Operation Blue Crush.

"There's no doubt that crime has gone up because Blue Crush was not fully operational," said Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland.

Operation Blue Crush is a research driven street operation that identifies crime hot spots in the area. Those areas are then saturated with law enforcement resources. It has been in place for more than seven years.

Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland is upset about the rise in crime in Memphis. He says the police department's Blue Crush program hasn't been able to fully address the issue.

"As recently as November we were told Blue Crush was fully operational. Today we found out that's not true," said Strickland.

Last month, the executive director of the Crime Commission wrote the city council about the lack of resources for Operation Blue Crush and its effects.

It the letter it said, "Due to some combination of budget cuts or reallocation, these Blue Crush officer details have not been deployed at the same level in the past 12 to 18 months."

The letter continued, "It has been over the same period that our community has seen the successful violent crime reductions erode by nearly half."

A quick check of the numbers backs up those statements.

Major violent crime between 2011 and 2012, which includes murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault and robbery, is up 10.2 percent.

This comes after a major violent crime drop of more than 22 percent from 2007 to 2011.

"I am not here to blame one person or another but someone, either Mayor Wharton or MPD, has changed up the Operation Blue Crush without telling the council, without telling the public and crime has gone up as a result," said Strickland.

Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland says the issue will be brought up at the next council committee hearing on Tuesday.

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