Random victims make up nearly half of Memphis homicides

Random victims make up nearly half of Memphis homicides

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Nearly half of the 61 Memphis homicide victims in 2016 did not know the person who killed them.

Memphis Police Department released the latest homicide numbers 48 years after Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. MLK was an advocate of non-violence and peace, and while he did as much as anyone to help improve America, it's clear his dream has not yet been fully realized.

"I think he would be disappointed, but I don't think he would lose hope," Michael Barbour said of Dr. King.

MPD said 32 of the 61 homicide victims knew their attackers. That means more than half of the victims were part of random attacks. At this time in 2015, Memphis only had 35 homicides.

"To have a number like that is totally unacceptable," city councilman Martavius Jones said.

Mayor Jim Strickland ran a campaign dedicated to reducing crime in Memphis. Monday, he told WMC Action News 5 he was working on a comprehensive plan to fight back against crime. He said he expects to release his comprehensive plan sometime in the next week.

But until then, he said he has already started working to reduce crime in Memphis.

"Since I've become mayor, there are more police officers on the streets than there were before," Strickland said. "We've put more police officers in the gang task force, because we do, frankly, have a gang problem."

Strickland said he's actively working to reduce crime with programs like blue crush. He's also working to recruit and retain more officers and add more jobs and SkyCop cameras.

Jones said bringing more jobs to Memphis will help reduce crime in the city.

"You're not able to find employment. You're not able to have value for yourself. You're not going to value someone else's life."

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