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Calls to CrimeStoppers rebound amid surge in violence

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 4:44 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:53 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - According to police, at least 11 people were victims of gun violence over the weekend in Memphis and at least four of them died.

But amid the recent violence, it appears more people are stepping up trying to help solve crimes.

The number of calls coming to CrimeStoppers dropped off dramatically during the pandemic but has now rebounded.

It comes at a time when help is desperately needed.

A weekend outing to Incredible Pizza on Germantown Parkway descended into chaos Saturday afternoon as an argument between two families turned violent.

Police say a gunman ended up shooting two people.

The 21-year-old suspect, Antravion Greer, appeared in court Monday to hear the charges against him.

The shooting at Incredible Pizza was one of several that happened over the weekend.

“It is absolutely insane out there now and it’s almost as if the criminal element feels they’ve got the freedom to do anything they want to do. It’s just like Wild West,” said Buddy Chapman, executive director of CrimeStoppers.

Chapman is also a former Memphis police director.

He says the violence Memphis and other cities are experiencing now is unlike anything he’s ever seen.

But Chapman says there’s only so much police can do.

“Crime is not a police problem. Crime is a community problem,” said Chapman. “And the community will suffer crime to the extent that they’re willing to.”

Chapman says the pandemic led to a steep drop in calls to CrimeStoppers since people weren’t going out as much.

But they have since rebounded to about 250 to 300 calls a month and Crimestoppers also increased its top reward from $1,000 to $2,000.

Chapman says information callers provided recently helped police catch suspects in the July 4th shooting death of 7-year-old Kelby Shorty.

He says it will take that kind of help from the community to really begin tackling violent crime.

“No criminal act takes place in this city that someone doesn’t know,” said Chapman.

Chapman says callers to CrimeStoppers remain completely anonymous.

They don’t use Caller I.D., so they have no way of knowing who is calling.

The main thing they want is information that can help investigators.

If you have information about a crime, call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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