Mayor announces new Violence Interruption Program to help fight crime in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis is on track to pass last year’s record for murders, but city leaders say they are doing all they can to step in and stop it.

This week Mayor Jim Strickland announced a new program that could help in the fight.

His office is asking the city council for funding for what he calls the Violence Interruption Program.

“When they get treated at the hospital and they’re stable, we have counselors come in and say, ‘Do you want to change your life? Do you want to go to the right path?’ And if they say yes, we help them with housing, we help them to pay their bills, with job training, and we help them get a job. It works,” said Strickland.

As of April 8, there have been 61 murders in Memphis for 2021. By this point last year, the number was 48. Mayor Strickland says the new program will help prevent crime and help save young lives.

“We have to do better intervening in the lives of those individuals before they pick up that gun. If we can intervene in the lives of those people from 14 to 24 and give them an alternative, counsel with them and work with them, we can change the scope of it,” said Strickland.

Mayor Strickland says the city has been doing this already on a very small scale, but if the council funds this program, he says they could add more resources to counsel hundreds of people throughout the city to try to get to what he says is the root of the problem: lack of work and resources.