MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It seems the new year has not brought change when it comes to violence across Memphis.
So far in 2021, there have been 17 homicides, two of which are juvenile homicides -- the latest happening Tuesday night involving a 14-year-old.
One Memphis City Council member says it’s a good time to think about re-introducing what she calls the “old school” way of community policing.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re having so many crimes that involve youth not only being victims but also being a part of crimes themselves,” said District 4 Councilwoman Jamita Swearengen.
Swearengen has been working on solutions to reduce crime for some time.
In July she sponsored a resolution to have more community policing; that effort would have started in January.
“When they knew those policemen, they would sometimes share with them what’s going on in the community, who’s doing it, where it’s transpiring and that allowed the policeman to be proactive,” said Swearengen.
Memphis police say their Community Outreach Program and efforts surrounding community policing are still in effect, however with the pandemic, they are limited on what they can do.
A statement reads in part: “Being shorthanded does affect the extra time that could be spent with community outreach efforts. Officers are going call to call, making sure that service is provided, leaving little time to address other community outreach initiatives.”
Swearengen says community policing doesn’t have to end with police officers, but social workers, consultants or even police service technicians could help.
“I’ve had social workers and consultants come up to me every day and say we would be happy to commit ourselves and even volunteer some of our time,” said Swearegen.
She hopes community policing will help save lives and reduce crime.