Loved ones tired of violent crime rate; city nears deadliest wee - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Loved ones tired of violent crime rate; city nears deadliest week in the year

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

The Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission released a statement saying crime rates in the county and city of Memphis have risen this year. In addition, this week may go down as the single deadliest week of the year.

According to MSCCC, the major violent crime rate has remained slightly up compared to the first eight months of 2015. Major violent crimes include murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies.

MSCCC said the countywide rate has risen 4.6 percent and the city rate has risen 2.3 percent. But, that still puts Memphis down a lot from 2006, when violent crime was at an all time high.

There have been seven homicides this week alone. Two other weeks this year also experienced seven homicides.

A 34-year-old man shot and killed Friday morning at his home in East Memphis was the latest of the seven people killed in only five days. With the week already adding up to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year, it still has the possibility of a violent weekend that is still ahead.

The numbers represent people....which have left families to grieve.

"To wake up to this call of her death is truly shocking," Allen Richardson said.

Richardson's sister, Telessa Cain, was a grandmother. She was shot and killed while driving down the road Wednesday morning.

"It seems unbelievable; it's hurting so bad," sister Percinna Cain said.

"I'm tired of it," Phillip Demesma said. "This is what we're dealing with now. These kids get around here, they get guns."

Demesma said he is fed up with the city's recent crime. His son was shot earlier this week, but thankfully is going to be OK.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland agrees the numbers are too high.

"We've had way too many homicides this week," Strickland said.

He admits, however, there is only so much the city and police department can do to slow down the violence. But, he said since he took office in January, they have taken steps to combat the violent crime rate.

"We've put more police officers out on the street than before," Strickland said. "We've put more police officers in our gang unit."

But, he admits, the city is still down at least 400 or more police officers. He said more people are applying to be officers thanks to the marketing campaign.

He said most of the city's homicides are gang related or the result of domestic violence. 

Of the 178 homicides this year, 88 of those people knew their attackers and 27 were involved in a domestic violence situation.

"I think we have to acknowledge it's higher than we want it to be," Bill Gibbons said. 

Gibbons heads up the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission and said they are working with local law enforcement and other agencies to address the issues of crime in our city and they're also relying on community feedback.

He said they are also hoping to release a crime prevention plan next month. Gibbons hopes the release of the new plan will increase citizen involvement and help them take on the problem of the rising numbers of violent crime in the city.

"Trying to develop a common community wide plan to reduce crime with major emphasis on violent crime," Gibbons said.

Strickland said his administration is sticking to the basics when it comes to fighting crime. 

"We focus on trying to be brilliant at the basics," Strickland said.

Basics, such as community policing and adding more officers, are what Strickland and MPD are working on. However, for the many grieving families, many said, they still want to see more done.

"I don't know what words can be expressed to the many families going through the same thing," Richardson said.

MPD and Shelby County Sheriff's Office said they're always actively working to reduce all crime. MPD is adding more patrols, especially in high crime focus areas. 

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