Serious crime in Memphis is down 25 percent in five years. Now comes the tricky part — making those gains stick, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Federal officials have been in Memphis this week, meeting with police and court officials, educators, clergy, business people, and community leaders, asking pointed questions: What is Memphis doing about prevention, and what would it do if it had the funding and technical expertise?
A team from the departments of Justice, Housing and Education is traveling to cities to hear what’s working and what local agencies need from them. Crime prevention “takes a lot longer to accomplish” than crime reduction, said University of Memphis criminologist Richard Janikowski. “If all we do is keep coming back to put out new fires, what do we accomplish?” he said. Phase 2 of a program called Operation Safe Community is set to begin, focusing on an area where 50,000 children live in poverty. This part of the city has the highest concentration of gang activity, youth violence, single-family household, and teen pregnancy.