901 Bloc Squad works to calm Memphis communities in the wake of violence
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Just 13 days into the new year, there have already been two children killed by gun violence in Memphis.
More resources are being put on the street to keep 2022 from being just as deadly as last year.
Wednesday was a particularly deadly day in Memphis. A 2-year-old was shot just after 10 p.m. in North Memphis and just hours earlier, a 16-year-old girl was gunned down on New Horn Lake Road.
The 901 Bloc Squad hopes to slow down the heartbreak.
The group is made up of men and women charged with working to prevent violence, often blending into the background of crime scenes trying to calm tensions in the neighborhood.
“We’re going to hang out on the block because we want to get to know these kids and build relationships with the OGs, the folks that call shots in our communities because all they need is to know how to resolve conflict without shooting,” said Delvin Lane who has been with the organization since its inception.
In 2021, there were 346 homicides in Memphis and 31 were children.
The 901 Bloc Squad started in 2012 with just five members, but with the rise of violence, more funds were allocated to the group to increase the number to 50.
One of those new members is Dominique Britt. She joined two months ago.
“I mean, when you go on different caseloads and what not or different crime scenes, I look at it like that was once my child. I lost my son to gun violence, so I know how some of those parents feel,” said Britt.
We first met Britt back in April when her 15-year-old son, Jarvis Triplet, was killed while riding on an ATV.
She’s decided to turn her pain into action.
“Me giving back to the children and being able to talk to some of the children and some of the parents, it actually gives me some type of relief,” she said. “I feel like I’m not in that dark spot anymore. I feel like I accomplished something once I talk to children.”
901 Bloc Squad works cases involving all ages, but Lane says the community has to step up to slow down the violence plaguing the neighborhoods.
“So, we challenge people to be the nosey neighbor. Turn your porch lights on at night, always know what’s going on around you. When you see weird cars driving through the community, call the police if you have to,” said Lane.
Lane says the Bloc Squad is now covering 10 territories, which is practically the entire city.
They’re not only on the block but they’re also in our school system trying to stop the violence before it starts.
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