Residents wonder if curfew law would decrease crime - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Residents wonder if curfew law would decrease crime

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

With Memphis Police Department down more than 400 officers, many community residents want to know if enforcing the curfew law would help reduce crime in Memphis.

The way it stands now, MPD has 2,052 officers on the force, including 30 recruits. The current police director wants to increase the number of officers to 2,480.

MPD investigated 91 homicides so far in 2016, including 14 children (four unborn). At last check, police said four people under the age of 18 have been arrested this year in connection with homicides.

The Memphis curfew law states children under 16 must be inside between 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 p.m.-6 a.m. Friday-Sunday.  The law also states people between 17 and 18 must be inside from 11 p.m.-6 a,m, Monday-Thursday and 12 a.m.-6 a.m. Friday-Sunday.

Mothers of murdered victims, such as Terry Johnson, whose daughter Myneishia, was shot and killed in Downtown Memphis, said enforcement of the juvenile curfew law could've saved lives. Johnson is concerned that MPD is down more than 400 officers, which means 400 fewer officers to enforce the curfew.

"Y'all need to make a curfew to have all of the babies in the house on time," Johnson said.

MPD said the curfew law is already being enforced, and in fact, juvenile records reflect that so far this year 62 children have received a summons for breaking the curfew law. Last year, for the entire year, 617 summons were issued to children out past curfew. 

"More boots on the ground, you will see a dip in those late night crimes," Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael said.

He said he respects the work of Memphis police officers, but also believes more juvenile curfew enforcement would not hurt.

MPD Interim Director Mike Rallings released a statement saying the department enforces the laws, but they need the parents and guardians to do their part as well. When curfew time hits, the department said they need parents to know where their children are at.

"All of our babies dying, this is just not right," Johnson said.

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