Crime won the agenda at the Better Community Summit.
Both religious and criminal justice leaders focused on creating solutions to curb violent acts in local neighborhoods.
“The work ain’t up here; the work is out there,” DeAndre Brown exclaimed as he addressed an attentive audience from the podium at Greater Community Temple.
Brown is the founder of Lifeline 2 Success, an organization that helps provide re-entry opportunities for ex-offenders after being released from prison.
He served as one of the guest speaker.
“We need professional recruiters to recruit these young people to make them have value and a different lifestyle,” said Brown.
The summit set out to find solutions to some of the most challenging issues faced by families in Bluff City, including youth crime, gangs, and domestic violence.
“Crime is something that affects all of us,” said Bishop Brandon Porter of Greater Community Temple. “It’s not just one neighborhood anymore because crime goes into Germantown and Collierville. As you can see it’s not safe to jog and run around in the town.”
According to the Crime Commission, the overall crime rate in Shelby County was down 1.4% in 2021 compared to 2020, while major violent crimes in the county were up 1.2% comparing the same years.
Leaders all agreed on a common theme to help curb spiking crime, relationships, and togetherness.
“You get to know people’s names and you talk to them like we used to do in the community. It used to be a time when neighbors knew each other. Now we don’t really know each other,” said Porter.
Department of Justice U.S. Attorney Joe Murphy weighed in on the conversation, suggesting being proactive and offering solutions like mentorship before crime becomes a problem, is key to creating safer communities.
“Dealing with people before they commit violent crime; we need to focus on people and offer them opportunities for job training, better education, and all those opportunities are going to come from the community,” Murphy said. “Violent crime is everybody’s problem. It’s not a prosecutor problem or a police problem.”
Workshops included domestic violence prevention, healthy relationships, trauma response, and de-escalation training.