Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and other officials told law enforcement officers from across Tennessee yesterday about initiatives the city is deploying to fight crime, including "data-driven" policing, help for newly released felons, and work with large apartment complexes to improve safety, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "We're picking target areas and when we go in, we go in with everything we've got. We go in with the carrot and with the stick," Wharton told Gov. Bill Haslam's Public Safety Forum.
The anti-crime strategies of the state's largest city were featured at at a conference attended by 450 law enforcement officials, prosecutors, legislators, social service and health care providers, and victims' rights advocates. The key, officials agreed, is for a comprehensive, organized approach to reducing crime and its causes — including police, health, education and other programs. After five years of Operation Safety Community, violent crime is down 22 percent and property crime is down 25 percent. Initiatives include the focused enforcement of "Operation Blue Crush," data-driven policing, Safe Neighborhood programs, the district attorney's mentoring-based truancy efforts, the use of nuisance laws to close over 300 drug houses, and special courts devoted to drug treatment and domestic violence. "Are we out of the woods yet? No, but the structure is working," Wharton said.