Strickland talks violent start to 2016, solutions for crime

"It makes me angry. It makes me sad. But it makes me driven that we need to turn things around," Jim Strickland told FOX13 when discussing the violent start to 2016.

Only 42 days into his administration, and the city of Memphis has seen 30 homicides. That's one almost every 18 hours.

>> Memphians speak out on the violent start to 2016

If we keep this pace, Memphis could see more than 250 dead by the end of 2016.

FOX13 asked the mayor if the city is in crisis.

"I don’t' think we are in crisis, but it is very definitely concerning," Strickland said.

It is especially concerning for a new mayor who was elected with the intent of making city streets safer.

2006 is the high-water mark of violent crime in Memphis. There were 160 homicides that year, and 20 of every 1,000 people were affected by violent crime.

The first half of that year was incredibly violent, with 99 murders tallied through the month of July.

We asked what can be done to stop the violence.

"No one knows exactly what can be done on homicides,” Mayor Strickland said. “You try to show a bigger presence on the street. (You) get the patrol cars going through the neighborhoods, especially those neighborhoods where you've seen an uptick in violent crime.”

Strickland continued and said the city has a plan.

“We have a short term plan. Number one, I've given Director Rallings all resources that he possibly needs, including overtime and any and all equipment he needs to get more man power out on the streets.”

Even that is a challenge.

As FOX13 has reported, the MPD is facing major staffing issues. Officers, especially senior officers, have left the force in the last many months after the Wharton administration and city council slashed benefits.

"Very shortly, we will be unveiling an aggressive plan to retain our police officers and to recruit additional ones,” Mayor Strickland said. “We need more police officers. We are now down below 2100. A few years ago, we had 2400.”

Despite the obstacles, Memphians FOX13 spoke to are demanding something be done. Those are the same people who put Strickland in office on the promise of better crime control.

FOX13 asked the mayor about a time table, but Mayor Strickland would make no promises.

"I don't want to over-promise on something I don't know. The policing experts tell me that this is the hardest crime to deter. But long term, we will turn this around."