City struggles to fight soaring murder rate - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City struggles to fight soaring murder rate

The crime scene tape has been trashed. Only rubber gloves mark the spot where a 17-year-old died following a fight.

"A squabble between juveniles--then later on, individuals came to exact retribution and one thing led to another and someone got shot," says MPD Sgt. Vince Higgins.

It ended as the latest murder of the year in the city and did not come as a shock.

"To me, that's happening all over Memphis--shooting going on, killing people," says neighbor Nick Williams.

And Memphis may be on its way to setting another record. With two entire months to go, Memphis is already at 122 murders. That's beyond 2004's five-year low of 118 murders. There were 138 killings in 2003.

"We've got to change the environment on how people deal with conflict--got to change the environment where weapons are readily available on the black market," says Higgins.

Community involvement in areas where crimes occur is another key. That includes the one in which the teenager lost his life Wednesday night.

"Take a look at this individual and the other 120 that died and ask ourselves as a community is this what we want to be known for and how can we help," says Higgins.

But some have already given up.

"I don't think there's no stopping--ain't no stopping to that killing," says Williams.

Slowing it down would be enough to satisfy Memphis police.

If you know anything about this latest murder of the year, call Crime-Stoppers at 528-CASH.

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