Memphis sees a record 342 homicides as 2021 ends

Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 6:55 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The year 2021 brought historic crime numbers for the city of Memphis with a new record of 342 homicides.

The latest death happened nine hours from the new year.

Friday afternoon, we spoke with Pastor Walter Womack, the president of the Memphis Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLS), and though the numbers are daunting, he says he’s optimistic for the new year.

“My Lord,” said Womack after we had told him the updated number of homicides. “This is going to take a lot of prayer, and we’re going to have to put, as I say, boots on the ground and engage our young people.”

Womack, wearing two hats as the SCLC president and the pastor of Faithful Baptist Church, says he and other religious leaders in the city are putting together new programs that will take effect in the new year and provide resources to Memphis youth.

“I’m very optimistic that the initiatives that SCLC has implemented with our Love Crusade will play a major role in our fight against crime,” Womack said.

Among those resources include anger management courses, mentoring programs, and a prayer hotline.

New programs from the City of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department have community members excited, according to Womack.

The city’s group violence intervention program and the Memphis Police Department’s new SCORPION Unit have both shown positive results, and Womack says he and others in the community are anxious to see what numbers are produced from these efforts after a full year.

“I think it’s going to take more than just the police department. It will take more than just the mayor. It’s going to take all of us,” Womack said.

Of the 342 homicides, 141 remain unsolved.

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