Memphis Police Chief says community engagement is part of her crime fighting plan

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  In the middle of Orange Mound, they gathered. 

The community is tired of the crime

“We have placed cameras out and we still have shootings. People can’t rest well at night,” said Memphis City Council Vice Chair Jamita Swearengen.

Swearengen represents this part of the city. Saturday morning she and others set out to take back the community.  

Memphis new Police Chief C.J. Davis joined in. She has been chief only a few weeks, but says this is what it takes to accomplish the charge before her, reducing crime in the city.

“This is a start.  We have got to get our community engaged. It can’t be just the police responding to crime. Because if we don’t deal with the community issues, the relationship issues and have some of our other community organizations work with us to address crime and have a presence. Even when police aren’t here, having a presence to take back some of these corners,” says Davis.

So they took to the corners and marched through the streets to let people know they can take back the streets.

At a time when random shootings are taking young lives and a drive on the interstate can turn deadly, everyone is in search of a solution.

The police chief says it’s a part of her crime plan to collaborate with non-profits and other organizations to help in the fight, not just leaving it to the officers covering the city.

“Education, especially gun education. We had a young lady, a 6 year old that was actually shot last night because she got hold of a weapon that was carelessly left and those are the kind of things that break our heart,” said Davis.

Orange Mound resident  Marsha Wilson lost her son to gun violence in 2014.  She says the community has to get angry enough to demand change.

“It’s gonna take the community. They are gonna have to start opening up their mouths and they gonna have to start telling about the crimes in the area,” says Wilson.

Chief Davis says a big part of her plan is getting out in the community and getting to know the people. She says that is where change starts.

“We can’t arrest crime away and I will keep saying it, because we have been trying to do that for years. That does not work. You can’t have crime reduction without community engagement,” says Davis.

Chief Davis said another part of community education to decrease crime is teaching about gun ownership and making sure people don’t leave guns in cars.

She said many of the guns police seize off the streets are stolen from legal gun owners who left them in a glove compartment.

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