Memphis city has a history of highest violence and youth crime rates in the United States. The local community is well-aware of how this discrepancy obstructs their development goals. It includes maintaining tourism and vibrant business sector that attracts new companies and families to this region.
Social isolation and poverty are fueling gun violence epidemic and crime is so proliferating. People cannot make enough money to support their families. Parents have a hard time convincing their kids that a job will pull them away from their poverty and what the street gang offers are bad. Drugs play a vital role in the crime and the youngsters go to any length in increasing their wealth.
To break this poverty cycle, it is necessary to invest in the community, curb the racist & classist’s perception, and raise wages. Public safety is associated with the city’s development goals, education quality, and economic health. Check https://memphiscrime.org/the-stats/
To encounter the above challenges, a plan was developed in the year 2006 for increasing economic growth and enhancing life quality. The plan was called ‘Memphis Fast Forward’. It featured necessary elements like enhanced education, job creation, decrease crime and Government competence.
Operation: Safe Community
It is an initiative for crime reduction. The plan has 15 points featuring intervention and law enforcement strategies. The aspects that brought diverse sectors and leaders to work committedly for the Memphis community include –
- Participation from critical sectors increased because high government levels and law enforcement got involved.
- It was demonstrated how reducing crime is necessary for economic development, which influenced economic development leaders and businesses. However, they were unaware of their role in tackling youth crime and violence.
- Operation: Safe Community is a strong plan. It is an evidence-based practice with clear metrics and goals. It assigns responsibility for implementation and developed with input from local experts, public education, faith organizations, a grassroots group, and the neighborhood.
- The Memphis Shelby Crime Commission offered a neutral round table for regular progress reporting, problem-solving, tweaking the plan, and rejoicing the success.
- Local Memphis University supported data sharing among the partners.
- The social and traditional media marketed success stories and partners’ efforts towards improving community engagement and awareness.
Along with a vision and help from partners, Operation: Safe Community moved from a policy into action. The benefits of plan implementation are emerging. There is a dramatic drop in crimes. However, the census reveals that the age group 20 to 24 is the largest. Disconnected youths account for 21.6%. It means out of 5 one person within age 16 – 24 have dropped out of school and are unemployed. They are drifting and ripe, so they find their shelter with some violent gang.
Disconnected youth increase the violence rate, which is an epidemic that can dent the future of Memphis. At this time, Memphis needs more youths to contribute and pay taxes rather than kill or get imprisoned or choose drugs & gangs over college life and career.
Funds are needed for dealing with structural issues behind violence and the success of violence-prevention programs. Operation: Safe Community is a 5-year plan followed by Phase 2 funded by the philanthropic community and local businesses. Youth violence reduction is the primary goal of Memphians. They are moving towards building a safe and prosperous communit.