|Why would the city be dangerous? Didn't Marc Cohn sing a song about walking in the city, seeing the ghost of Elvis or something?|
Billboards installed by the Memphis Police Association in the past week are starting a debate over public safety and could be hurting the city's image.
Mike Williams, President of the MPA, says the billboards are targeting city leaders but Mayor A C Wharton says the billboards - which say "DANGER: Enter at your own risk; This city does not support public safety" - are driving tourists away.
During a news conference Friday Mayor Wharton didn't hold back. He says these signs around town could cost some people their jobs and he says they're out of line. Williams says they're protecting the union's jobs and benefits.
"I think it's self-centered, I think it's selfish," Mr. Wharton said. "I think it has no place in our city."
|What do you notice? Memphis went from 62 percent white in 1970 to 64 percent black today. As Michael Lewis noted in The Blind Side, blacks inherited the city and... well, it's one of America's most dangerous now|
Elected officials aren't generally known for their camera-shyness. Yet some Memphis City Council members weren't comfortable with local police appearing on a documentary series called "The First 48."
The series, which airs on the A&E cable channel, follows detectives as they try to solve murders within the first two days after the crimes have been committed.
Council member Wanda Halbert said the show was giving viewers elsewhere around the country a bad impression of Memphis.
"I heard out-of-town people say Memphis was out of control," Halbert said. "We were exposing the world to the worst aspects of our city."
When Big Tony put the two boys in his car on the west side of Memphis and drove them out, he was taking the longest journey he could imagine, and yet he only had to travel about fifteen miles. Driving east, he left the third poorest zip code in the United States and headed toward some of the richest people on earth. He left a neighborhood in which he could drive all day without laying eyes on a white person for one where a black person was a bit of curiosity. Memphis could make you wonder why anyone bothered to create laws segregating the races. More than a million people making many millions of individual choices generated an outcome not so different from a law forbidding black people and white people from mingling.
As Big Tony puttered along in his ancient Ford Taurus, he passed what was left of Hurt Village, a barracks-style housing project built for white working-class families in the mid-1950s, reoccupied by blacks, and, in the end, controlled by gangs: Hurt Village was where Big Tony had grown up. He passed schools that had once been all white and were now all black. He passed people, like himself, in old clothes driving old cars. He passed Second Presbyterian Church, from which Martin Luther King, Jr. staged his last march before he was shot and killed – now abandoned and boarded shut. Further east, he passed the relatively prosperous black church, Mississippi Boulevard, housed in building abandoned by the white Baptists when they fled further east to a new church so huge and sprawling that it had been dubbed Six Flags Over Jesus. As Big Tony drove east he left what was, in effect, a secondhand city occupied by black people and entered the place for which it had been exchanged: a brand-new city, created by Born Again white people. And now here came Big Tony, chugging along in his beat-to-hell Taurus, chasing after them. (p. 45-46)
|An initiative by the elected black officials in Memphis to stop black gun violence|
In 2010, there were more than 50,000 crime-related incidents, with 10,384 being of a violent nature. Studies found that the violent crime rate in Memphis was 151.34 percent higher than that of the entire state of Tennessee.
But surprisingly... Memphis' Homicide Rate is more than four times what New York City's was last year. Last year in New York... One in every 15,079 people were murdered. In Memphis this year... Its one in every 3,734. So what are people in Memphis killing each other over?
Scott continues, "This year there just seems to be a lot of neighborhood arguing."
Argument is the number 1 motive this year... A third of homicides, 30... Started with an argument... One over five dollars... Another between two brothers arguing who was the better parent.
"And just people that for whatever reason cannot resolve conflicts in a civil manner."