MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Violent acts like murder, rape, and robberies with AR-style weapons have all committed by teens this year, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.

Juvenile violence has become a major issue.

Now, an ice cream shop in Cooper-Young is joining the fight to stop it.

“I watch the news every morning. Every morning, I see young guys or girls getting into trouble,” Waffle Cream owner Brenae Cole.

Cole said she makes it a point to hire teenagers.

“I wanted to do something that could possibly turn it around. Give them something else to do,” she said.

Cole said countless teens apply for jobs at her shop, and so far, she’s hired 10 of them.

“I feel like I’ve been instrumental to their upbringing. A lot of the teenagers who applied, this is their first job,” she said.

Cole said she was in high school when she landed her first job at Kroger. She said it taught her responsibility, kept her busy and out of trouble.

She believes it will do the same for her employees.

“An idle mind is just the worst. When you don’t have anything to do, that’s when you get into the most trouble,” Cole said.

WREG investigators found out, as of August 31, Memphis police arrested more than 230 juveniles for gun-related charges. That’s a 40% increase compared to the same time last year.

By the end of September, four teens, including a fourteen-year-old, were charged as adults for murder.

Authorities said the crimes that juveniles are committing are getting bolder.

One teenager reportedly used an AR-style rifle during a robbery. Another is accused of robbing six people at gunpoint in one day. Another allegedly played a role in carjacking two women before shots were fired at officers.

haInvestigators say victims have been dragged from their cars, beaten, shot and killed.

“I’m always personally committed to finding solutions for at-risk youth,” Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said.

Davis said she’s met with Shelby County Schools, Juvenile Court and the Shelby County DA’s office. She said they agree — a major focus is intervention, especially for first time offenders.

Davis said they are continuing to work with the youth assessment center to address at-risk youth to figure out what services they and their families need. She said officers are also spending time in schools to educate children about anti-violence and gang activity.

“It takes more than one group to do something about crime,” Mayor Jim Strickland said.

Strickland said he needs parents to step up and suggests they call 211 if they need parenting advice.

He also said his team has implemented a number of youth programs that are working to keep kids on the right path.

Just recently, they helped expand the work that the Boys and Girls Club has been doing at Craigmont to ten other Shelby County high schools.

“I wish we could get all thirty high schools in Memphis. We are working on that and trying to raise private dollars to get those,” Strickland said.

As for Cole, she hopes to be a role model to her young staff and also inspire businesses throughout the city.

“When they are at this age, they are moldable. I would give any business a thumbs up to hire more youth,” Cole said.