MEMPHIS, Tenn. — So far this year, Memphis Police said nearly half of all solved homicides are gang-related.
They also said these gang members are getting younger and younger.
“A lot of uneducated older kids are committing crimes. Some are gang members, some are not,” said Jimmy Chambers, Multi-Agency Gang Unit.
Chambers is a part of the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, a team of law enforcement officers that are behind some of the biggest arrests and gang busts.
“What you have is a lot of uneducated parents raising uneducated kids. What do you get? Crime,” said Chambers.
So far this year Memphis Police say there have been 119 murders compared to 106 the same day last year. Of the solved murders, we’re told 27 percent were gang-related.
A crime is considered gang-related when the victim or criminal is in a gang.
“You get aggravated assaults, shootings because that’s how they solve crime. They’re not solving crime with these anymore. They’re solving them with guns, " said Chambers.
Of the 138 homicides Memphis Police were investigating before Tuesday’s shooting deaths, they said 46 percent of the solved cases were gang-related.
We’re told 75 from this year have been solved. Of that number 34 were gang-related.
“A lot of times, they ain’t even trying to kill each other. They’re just shooting a gun. They don’t realize the devastation they put on families until after they have done something stupid. Then it’s too late, " said Chambers.
Chambers also works to rehabilitate young people through his organization Camp Chambers. Kids are faced with mug shots of teens who were once a part of his program but were shot and killed.
“You can only tell kids so much because the gangs have so much influence over our children, " said Chambers.
Chambers said to curb these numbers it’s not enough to simply address kids.
“That young knucklehead, you can’t just deal with him and think it’s going to be over because he’s going back. Let’s see what mama needs to help fix this child, " said Chambers.
Chambers said when kids come through his program he gives them the tools to succeed. Some even continue to college.
“If you stick with me, your problem will be my problem, and I will deal with them, and I can deal with them a little differently than you can,” said Chambers.
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