Memphis leaders hope to tackle violence in 2021

Health and local leaders working to stop violence in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis and Shelby County leaders are coming together to tackle the problem of violent crime in 2021.

In 2020 the city of Memphis reached a record of 332 homicides, 38 of the victims were children.

Less than one month into the new year, Memphis has already had 21 homicides, including 2 juvenile murders.

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“I’ve said publicly several times if we invested as much energy in violence as we did in COVID we would move forward,” said Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.

Haushalter says crime is a public health issue and says the anti-violence program called “Cure Violence” is coming to Shelby County.

“They will help us look at violence from a broader perspective, particularly that public health perspective not limited to enforcement,” said Haushalter.

Memphis records 302 homicides in 2020

Haushalter also says the county recently received a technical assistance award from George Washington University that will dedicate three years to advance anti-violence work locally.

On top of that, she says the county and the city are looking to work together.

“So we have been having conversations about a joint violence prevention plan and a response plan for Memphis and Shelby County, and so those talks are underway,” said Haushalter.

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Strickland says Memphis has a high recidivism rate, and second-chance programs are very important when tackling the issue of violence.

“If somebody who’s had a criminal background can find a job, a good-paying job, find a career, turn that job into a career there’s very little chance they go back to a life of crime,” said Strickland.

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