Mayors weigh in on Memphis & Shelby County crime

While they respect each other, Mayors A C Wharton and Willie Herenton have very different ideas about what to do about the future of Memphis and Shelby County crime.

Crime is the sticking point in this Memphis mayor's race. Mayor Willie Herenton is left answering criticism. We wanted to ask another mayor his thoughts on a race he considered running.

"Let's be real about this thing. We got a problem with crime. We are on top of it as well as any urban city can be on top of it," said Herenton.

Mayor Willie Herenton says coming up with a way to solve crime has become the point of attack this election year.

"Memphians can't afford to forget crime is too real to ignore," says mayoral candidate Carol Chumney.

Mayoral candidate Herman Morris adds, "Gangs, we need to have a task force to deal with that, drugs we need to have a task force to deal with that."

Both Morris and Chumney say Herenton's record on crime is poor.

Herenton says no one else could do any better. "They can't stop homicides. The shootings that occurred last night--if the police department knew that some guys were going to go shoot somebody, they would have been there to stop them," says Herenton.

Herenton says growth should be the focus of this campaign. "What I want people to focus on is how far this city has come economically in the last 16 years and not just focus on some of the social pathologies that plague all urban cities."

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton says crime needs attention, just not as much as education. "The schools that are not doing so well. What are some creative solutions. How do we build community support for all our schools. I would love to see much more on that."

Wharton says he's happy he's not running for city mayor and he has no regrets. "You cannot got through life looking backwards. You've gotta look forward always so what happened a few months ago is just a vague memory," says Wharton.

Election Day is October 4th. But early voting starts Friday and runs through September 29th.


to email Nick Kenney.