Juvenile arrests down thanks to church, MPD partnership

Juvenile arrests down thanks to church, MPD partnership

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - For the third year, the number of juveniles being arrested in the Raleigh-Frayser area has gone down.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it's something Charlie Caswell, the Outreach Pastor at The House Church in Memphis, knows all too well.

"I was born in the projects in North Memphis. I seen my best friend killed in front of me," Caswell said. "I've seen a lot of the other trauma that these kids have experienced."

That's why he's doing his part to help make a difference for youth in the Raleigh-Frayser neighborhoods through a program called Blue Community.

"Being able to help them understand that although it was meant for your bad, it can be turned around for your good," Caswell said.

The program is a partnership with the Old Allen Precinct and local clergy members.

They hold neighborhood watch meetings, meet with juveniles who may be headed down the wrong path, and figure out solutions to the teens' troubles.

"We know a little more about them, we get in depth," said Col. Gregory Sanders with Memphis Police Department. "Some juveniles, some of the things they do are juvenile offenses, we can look into what's really going on with them."

And Col. Sanders said it's working.

"We are seeing some of the juvenile offenders, the recidivism rate is not as high in 2018 as it was in previous years," he said.

Col. Sanders said in 2016 there were 421 juvenile crime citations in Raleigh-Frayser. In 2017 there were 352 and halfway through 2018, there have been 135 so far.

Caswell said he hopes the work through the Blue Community will result in a continued decrease in crime.

"It's only creating more trauma to put them in juvenile court when it's really not what's wrong with them, but what happened to them," Caswell said.

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