First woman to lead MPD homicide division plans to reduce crime

First woman to lead MPD homicide division plans to reduce crime

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - For the first time ever, a woman is overseeing Memphis Police Department's homicide division.

Deputy Chief Sharonda Hampton is planning to reduce the number of homicides in Memphis.

Within the first 50 days of 2016 the city of Memphis has already seen 33 homicides. Twenty-three of those have been solved.

Justin Alexander said violent crime is just a part of the fabric of Memphis these days.

"I was born and raised here, and so, it really just is what it is."

He doesn't think it's going to change soon.

But Hampton is determined to stop the homicides before they happen--no matter how difficult that may be.

"There is no statistical data that will alert us when someone has made the decision to commit murder," Hampton said.

Hampton said her plan is to place officers in areas with high crime potential, build on community outreach efforts, and lock away violent criminals.

But she said the biggest key to stopping homicides really has nothing to do with police. She said it ultimately comes down to Memphis citizens policing themselves.

"I challenge everyone to step up. If you see something, by all means, say something."

Alexander simply doesn't see that happening.

"That's not what people do. People mind their business."

Major Caroline Mason said police caught a burglar Thursday night because neighbors didn't mind their own business.

"Without that neighbor getting involved and helping us with that, we may not have been able to catch that suspect," Mason said.

Hampton said they are increasing the number of homicide investigators from 13 to 16 in hopes of solving more of these cases faster, but the heart of the plan to prevent them really beats with citizens.

"We can do our part, but we cannot do it without the community," Hampton said.

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