In one South Memphis neighborhood, a violent crime was reported nearly every other day for almost a decade, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Across the city, more than 30,000 residents in roughly 40 neighborhoods live with the constant threat of violence, said examination of a decade of police records by the newspaper. These are neighborhoods where a violent crime occurs one to three times every 10 days; where there are more than three violent incidents per every five residents. The stats, frightening as they are, don’t impart the horror of it all.
In South Memphis, a baby is delivered a month early, in July, when his mother is struck by a stray bullet. In another area, police find a man lying face down, shot dead, in the parking lot of a gas station in August. In a third neighborhood, three people are shot in a nightclub in September in what police suspect is an attempted robbery. In many instances, victims are trapped by economics; they simply can’t afford to flee. In 2000, median household income in these danger zones was 35 percent lower than citywide.