Community listening tour tackles problems and solutions for crime, blight, economic development

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s been a week since three separate shootings killed three kids and injured one teenage in Memphis.

One week later, police haven’t made any arrests and we don’t have any information about possible suspects.

Community members met with police and city leaders to talk about building safer neighborhoods on Monday night.

In small groups, dozens of people tackled some of the biggest issues affecting their community – crime, blight, youth opportunities and economic development.

Cordova homeowner Linita Stewart said she wanted to sit in the crime group because she wanted to talk directly with Memphis Police. She said she wanted to know what they see on a regular basis, and what they believe needs to change.

Related: Residents concerned after 3 children shot in less than 48 hours

“It’s going to take everybody in the community to make this work and get our communities back to neighborhoods where we know our neighbors and we know the kids in the neighborhood and we’re all mentoring that’s how I grew up and that’s what we need to get back to,” said Stewart.

This meeting comes after a spike in homicides so far in 2020. MPD says there have been 17 homicides this year compared to 10 at the same point last year. This includes the three children killed in drive by shootings last week.

“It breaks my heart every day to see that because I realize it may be happening over there but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen in my neighborhood, it can’t happen next door, it can’t be my children or my grandchild so all of what we talked about tonight effects everybody,” said Stewart.

During this town hall, each group came up with list of problems and solutions.

In the crime group, neighborhood crime like home and car break-ins was one of the biggest problems with creating more activities and support for the youth as a possible solution.

“Let’s reel our children back in, hug them, hold them and tell them we love them and show them that there is a better way and you don’t have to end up at 201 poplar, you don’t have to end up there,” she said

Related: 16-year-old child shot overnight in Frayser

There will be two more dates of the listening tour in the coming weeks for District one sponsored by City Councilwoman Rhonda Logan. The next one is Thursday, January 30 at the Frayser-Raleigh Senior Center and Thursday, February 6 at the North-Frayser Community Center – both meetings start at 6pm.