Memphis, Feds Work On “Operation Safe Community” Plan


Operation Safe Community in Memphis, TN’s Shelby County will be unveiled at a “summit” in November, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Shelby County Mayor A. C. Wharton said about a meeting of government officials yesterday about the initiative: “I hope it is a signal there are better things to come. Crime is not an issue; it is the issue.” Federal authorities had considered crime a local issue, Wharton said. This time around, U.S. Attorney David Kustoff is lending the government’s considerable support to forming a solution to rising crime and spearheading the far-reaching effort.

The planners of Operation Safe Community are using as successful models the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort, a joint local and federal crackdown on felons with guns, and the Memphis Police Department’s Blue Crush initiative, which targets hot spots based on crime data. The “Gun Crime is Jail Time” slogan associated with the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort reached 55 percent of the public within six months. As a result, homicides and violent crimes dipped to a 25-year low in 2004. When federal money for communicating that message dried up, the crime rate started rising.


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