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Memphis on pace to hit 300 homicides in 2020

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said he thinks COVID-19 is partly to blame.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It is a record that should never be broken. But it just could happen.

And if it does, the city will be sporting a big black eye.

The way things are going right now, Memphis is on pace to hit 300 homicides by the end of the year.

So far, as of 8:00 a.m. Monday, August 31st, there have been 186. In 2016, 226 people were homicide victims.

“It’s just hard to understand why one human being will kill another,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “And to have it happen in Memphis over and over is depressing. It really makes me angry.”

This is happening across the country. Mayor Strickland thinks COVID-19 is responsible for a lot of this.

“During the pandemic,” he said, “... most positive activities or interactions have closed down. Schools, churches, after school programming, our community centers, most have closed down.”

The Mayor said he still wants more police officers. His critics said the money that goes to police officers should instead go to social programs for those who need help. Mayor Strickland said Memphis needs both: that more cops doesn’t mean fewer murders.

“Murders and homicides are the least able to be affected by the number of police. Which goes back to family, schools.”

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