Community intervention program looks to fight juvenile crime in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - According to Memphis Police, 30 children died violently in the City of Memphis in 2022, and over half of them were murders.
The alarming numbers raise questions about what needs to be done to fight the rise in juvenile crime in the Bluff City.
The organization “901 BLOC Squad” said social media, music, and instant gratification are factors driving teenagers to commit crimes.
“When you factor all those things into the equation and you look at a lot of these kids that are committing the crimes they come from the poorest ZIP Codes in the city,” said Brian Tillman, 901 BLOC Squad.
In Parkway Village, Memphis police recently arrested a 13-year-old girl for the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old.
Earlier this week a 15-year-old was shot at a Sonic restaurant in Hickory Hill.
“Poverty breeds crime,” said Tillman.
He said the community must step up and reach out to our youth before crimes occur.
“If we have them somewhere in a controlled environment, they can’t be out committing crimes so it’s about being present,” said Tillman. “It’s about the relationships, so in order for them to have a relationship you have to spend time.”
Tillman said the intervention program has a license to operate in ten different neighborhoods throughout the city.
Members are essentially “violence interrupters.”
“We get them to the table and we try to turn that one isolated, shooting integer is that an isolated, shooting as opposed to an all-out war between two rival organizations,” said Tillman.
In the last two weeks, nine children have been shot in Memphis.
According to the Memphis Police Department so far in 2022:
- 30 children died violently
- 19 of those were murders,
- 8 were negligent homicides and
- 3 were justifiable homicides.
“We want to see our kids grow up and go to college, rather than going to prison and laying in cemeteries,” said Tillman. “We want them to have an opportunity to grow old and be who God calls them to be.”
901 Bloc squad said it hopes to reduce those numbers in the New Year to create better lives, opportunities, and communities for youth.
The organization is in the process of expanding, to contact Bloc Squad for information, click here.
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