Mayor Strickland discusses youth violence and one possible solution

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland talked candidly with FOX13′s Valerie Calhoun about some of the reasons the city is seeing so many young people commit crimes and one possible solution.

“The fact that a 16-year-old young man who used to work at the establishment traveled all the way there with his brother, got the gun, and shot a 17-year-old who was working is so tragic,” Strickland said. “It makes me sad. It makes me mad. What was going on in that 16-year-old’s life that would make him even think about doing that? That doesn’t value life at all?”


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Mayor Strickland was speaking out about the latest teen homicide in a Zoom interview from home.

He says juvenile crime has been on the rise even before the pandemic and lays some blame on Tennessee lawmakers.

“Now guns are so readily available, and I get so frustrated with state government because the state allows guns all over our city. And as they’ve liberalized the laws to allow more guns in cars and on people it has allowed gun violence to skyrocket.”

The permitless carry law went into effect two months ago in Tennessee, waiving the need for gun permits. But the mayor says that’s not the only issue. He says the Five Guys murder highlights a problem with the juvenile justice system.

“You have young teens using guns violently against others, and the juvenile court system is not designed for this. All this fits under county government. I really want the county commissioners to figure out what we need to do.”

There is hope. This week the city council approved a $9 million program for schools to work with The Boys and Girls Club. It is already proving successful in one school.

RELATED: Police Chief CJ Davis addresses rash of youth gun violence in Memphis

“Right now, Craigmont High School has a great after-school program run by the Boys and Girls Club, where hundreds of young people take part. We use our federal funding, and we’re going to increase that to eleven schools. "

Mayor Strickland says ten new high schools will get the program soon. The money comes from federal funding.

He says 100 percent of the students who have taken part have graduated.

He also says all of those graduates have gone on to college, the military, or into the workplace.