Crime Against Youth

Goal: Continued year-over-year reductions in crime against young people.

  • What is this?

    This is crime in which children under the age of 18 or young adults ages 18-24 are the victims. Our measure includes homicide and manslaughter, sex offenses, robberies (including carjacking), assault (domestic and non-domestic), child abuse, and kidnapping/abduction.

  • Why does it matter?

    Our young people are the future of our city. They cannot realize their full potential when they are victims of crime or when their lives are impacted by the risk or fear of becoming a victim of crime.

  • Who is responsible?

    Memphis Police Department (MPD) and partner agencies: Shelby County Schools, the Division of Public Works (reducing blight that promotes crime), and the Division of Parks and Neighborhoods (providing safe places and enriching activities).

  • How do we measure performance?

    We track the number of incidents and look for them to decline. We are also interested in the crime rate (number of incidents per 100,000 in population) and will display that on future versions of this dashboard.

What is the state of crime against youth in Memphis?

Despite our success in reducing crime overall in our community since 2006, youth violence remained relatively steady through 2012.

In 2013 and 2014, the impact of youth crime strategies began taking effect, yielding a 20% reduction in crimes against youth from their peak in 2009.

Since 2006, more than 50% of those arrested for committing a violent crime were 24 years of age or younger; many of the victims of these crimes by young people were young people too. Nearly 160,000 Memphis children living in poverty face multiple risk factors that put them at risk of being victims of crime, with those at highest risk including children of teen parents, youth with no consistently working adult in the home and "opportunity youth" -- young people ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working. There are approximately 45,000 "opportunity youth" in Shelby County.

How is the city working to reduce crimes against youth?

The City of Memphis and MPD have partnered with other law enforcement, government and community agencies to deliver a comprehensive youth violence prevention plan through Operation Safe Community. This plan includes enforcement, intervention and prevention strategies aimed at reducing risk factors that make young people susceptible to committing or being victims of crime.

The City partners with and works through neighborhood networks to improve local environments for high-risk youth by establishing safe places and passages and addressing problem properties. The City has partnered with Safeways, an apartment complex-based crime prevention strategy that has been deployed to sixteen apartment complexes across the city and is providing environments where young people enjoy a reduced risk of becoming a victim of crime. The division of Parks and Neighborhoods sponsors Summer Night Lights at parks and community centers, during which it offers extended service hours and programming that keeps young people engaged in positive activities in a safe place. Public Works is engaged in removing environmental crime risks for young people by removing problem properties and focusing blight removal efforts to create safe routes to school. See the Blight focus area for more information on the work the City has undertaken to remove problem properties.

Since 2012, the City of Memphis has invested in street intervention teams through the Memphis Gun Down program, which provides case management of the most at-risk young people and connects them to the services they need. These teams also intervene before crime happens by diffusing tensions in the community. They also take action after a violent crime like a shooting happens, to reduce the chances of retaliation and ultimately the risk that another young person will become a victim of crime.

More information