Group hopes to cut crime by preventing drop-outs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Group hopes to cut crime by preventing drop-outs

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Dropouts lead to crime - it's a trend local law enforcement members say they are seeing across Memphis and Shelby County.  In fact, the crime in Memphis and Shelby County is astounding - even to the community's top cops. 

"Just two weeks ago, we made over thirteen hundred arrests in Memphis,' Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said Friday. "It should not be that way."

Godwin and Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell said they see a common thread among crime statistics.
  
"Two of the characteristics that we are finding most common among the people who come into our jail is that they are young and they're uneducated," Luttrell said.

To combat that problem Luttrell, Godwin and school administrators have formed a partnership with the Tennessee group 'Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.' 
  
"We are a non-profit," said group director Mark Rogers. "We work on issues related to what keeps kids from getting involved in crime."

According to Rogers, research shows high quality pre-kindergarten programs are the key to lowering the country's rising dropout rates, something local educators understand all too well. 

"The initiatives for this school year and the following school year is to invest heavily in Pre-K," said Gerald Darling of Memphis City Schools.

"There's an old saying you can either educate or incarcerate, and the state of Tennessee has a graduation rate of 81.8 percent," said Shelby County Schools spokesperson Mike Tebbe. "Last year, Shelby County Schools had a graduation rate of 94."
 
With the support of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids,  Mid-South educators have one more member on their team as they fight to keep kids in school and ultimately cut down on crime.


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