Variety of solutions discussed to Beale Street violence

Variety of solutions discussed to Beale Street violence

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Mothers are demanding answers to the violence from city leaders after an alarming number of homicides involving teenagers being killed and teenagers being charged with murder.

"We're not even halfway through the year and it's already been 93 murders; that's a problem," Bridget Bradley said.

Bradley is with Memphis Mothers Against Violence and for the second straight day she, as well as other outraged Memphis mothers, have been outside city hall demanding a response from the mayor about the recent crime.

"All I'm asking for the mayor to do is to hear us," Bradley said.

Mayor Jim Strickland released a statement on Tuesday that said:

"Just like so many members of our community, I, too, am saddened and outraged at the senseless loss of life that's driving up our absolutely unacceptable homicide rate. I understand the frustration and anger of the victims' families. I'm committed to doing everything I can to keep every Memphian — especially young people — safe. Make no mistake: Public safety is my No. 1 priority. Our police officers are fighting violent crime every single day in this city — and they will continue the fight. We're also working hard on other strategies and programming beyond policing."

One mother said it is time to address the issues on and around Beale Street as well. The very area that for years was known as a safe place in the city is now a concern after several high-profile violent events.

For example, a Facebook video posted just last week shows an out-of-control fight on Beale Street.

"Something has got to be done," Downtown Memphis Commission CEO Terence Patterson said. "One incident like this is one incident too many."

In addition to fights, the popular downtown area has faced its share of issues stemming from a teen mother being gunned down just days before her high school graduation only one block over from Beale Street. That is coupled with a stampede on Beale just this past weekend.

"We are having ongoing discussions and we hope to do something and take some affirmative actions relatively soon," Patterson said.

Among those options being considered are adding a cover charge to get onto Beale, adding more private security, and enforcing the juvenile curfew law.

"They need to make Beale Street 25 (years of age) and older," Bradley said. "On Friday and Saturday night, it needs to be 25 and older."

Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner is proposing the possible development of sheriff's deputies to help Memphis police in the area.

"We just can't withstand incidents like that," Turner said. "We have a metro narcotics unit, we have a metro gang unit, and part of the concept that was floated was that we'd have a metro unit to monitor what happens downtown."

Turner said the area is important to protect because of its economic impact to the county.

However, some wonder if police have the capability of deterring crime.

"I don't see what difference it's going to make if somebody's just going to drive by and shoot in the crowd. I mean, what really can they do about that," one visitor said.

Turner and others said the addition of more officers can't hurt.

The county commission has established a new committee to consider crime solutions. That committee will include the sheriff and the MPD director.

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