Famous football coach working to reduce juvenile crime - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Famous football coach working to reduce juvenile crime

Bill Courtney (Source: WMC Action News 5) Bill Courtney (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Mid-South rotary members set a goal to cut teen violence by half over the course of the next five years.

Rotary leaders from around the region are teaming up with Bill Courtney, who is a coach and businessman, to defeat the growing problem.

Teen beat downs like the one that happened in an East Memphis grocery store parking lot last year is just one example of the growing number of crimes committed by teenagers.

"Seventy-four percent of crime in Shelby County is committed by somebody 18 years or younger," said Courtney, whose work with inner-city football players was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary "Undefeated."

On Saturday, Courtney and the rotary members, educators, judges, and many others will hold a forum on juvenile crime.

"We have to look at this as not just a Memphis problem, it's a Mid-South problem," said Rotary Dist. Gov. Robert Bickley.

Organizers say the goal of the forum is to bring Mid-Southerners together to brainstorm ways to stop to crime. It will also investigate what is causing teens to turn to a life of crime.

"It's generational, it's family. It's all kinds of issues, but that is exactly what this forum is all about," Courtney said.

Rotary leaders say their clubs have more than a million members who are ready to mentor, teach, and offer financial support to various programs developed during the forum.

If their efforts can reduce teen crime in the Mid-South, other chapters around the country will develop similar plans.

"If you fix crime, you fix the tax base, you fix education, you fix a lot. And you can't fix crime by just policing and arresting people you got to stop it at the root," Courtney suggested.

Organizers say the forum will get underway at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Whispering Woods Conference Center in Olive Branch, Mississippi.

The public is invited to attend, as well as politicians and others who are interested in working to solve the teen crime problem.

To RSVP to the forum, click here.

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