FOX13 Investigates: Memphis Mayor calls 161 homicides for the year an "awful milestone"

FOX13 Investigates: Memphis Mayor calls 161 homicides for the year an "awful milestone"

The number of people being killed in Memphis has reached a new marker which the Mayor himself calls an awful milestone.

Wednesday night, Memphis police responded to the 161st homicide of this year.

It is the same number of homicides the city recorded for all of last year.

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FOX13's chief investigative reporter Jim Spiewak spoke with Mayor Jim Strickland Friday.

With 108 days left in the year, many fear there will be even more killings.

Memphian Johnny Masson said, "I've lived in this city all my life. Nothing surprises me anymore." He added, "In the daytime, I can feel safe. At night time, I don't dare leave the house."

Memphis police confirmed the city has already matched the previous total number of killings for all of 2015.

Strickland showed a journal he keeps of each victim. "I want to be motivated everyday, because of the human beings that are behind the statistics," he told FOX13.

Strickland said police recruitment efforts are improving, but the focus must continue working to turn young people away from a life of crime.

Spiewak asked the Mayor if he plans on doing things differently the rest of the year. "We're doing everything we can, but I'm trying to be realistic to say that a significant drop might take time to realize," Strickland answered.

But do Memphians, the tax-payers and voters, think his administration and the police department are doing enough?

"I don't give anybody the benefit of the doubt," Masson said. "I know how it is. Like I said, I've lived here my whole life, this is how it is."

Another Memphian, Marilyn Turner, told FOX13, "I think they're doing what the can.  It also takes the community we all have to kinda pitch in together to do our part in order to keep crime down."

The homicide record was set back in 1993 with 213.

The Mayor re-stated plans to copy a successful crime reduction plan used in New Orleans. He said officials, from New Orleans came to town to visit, but he has no time table for when a Memphis based plan will be up and running.

While Shelby County has nowhere near the number of homicides the city does, the county is on near record pace for homicides this year.

So far in 2016, there have been 13 homicides in the county.

That is three times more than all of last year.

In 2015, the county just had just four homicides.