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'It’s become normalized' | Why an expert believes smash and grabs are on the rise

Licensed clinical social worker Carmen Gray says culture plays a major role in the trend of smash-and-grab crimes.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police expect property crimes to ramp up as the holiday season goes on.

The recent break-ins at the Walmart in Whitehaven and a shoe store on Winchester Road have some saying these types of crimes are a trend that's becoming far too common. 

Licensed clinical social worker Carmen Gray said it's “a different generation of young people. And I think that we can, you know, blame it on multiple reasons. We can blame it on social-economic reasons. We can blame it on parental reasons."

MPD said nearly two dozen people, some armed broke a window and stole electronics and other merchandise from the Walmart in Whitehaven.

That same evening a shoe store on Winchester Road called Valid Kixx was robbed in a similar way. Over 15 people came through a window of the store and took thousands of dollars worth of property. 

“It’s become normalized," Gray said. "So they are successful in one smash and grab and more than likely they are going to do another one. And so, you have multiple crimes being done by the same individuals because they’ve gotten away with it." 

Gray said it’s a matter of values and reevaluating culture that’s prioritized materialism. 

“Is it just these individuals find it easier to get the things they want," Gray asked. "Have certain things outside of their home been glorified like the gym shoes, like certain materialistic things that they want? That they need to get quick fast and, in a hurry."

But Gray said hope is not lost. 

“Everybody has hope," Gray said. "So mentoring is important, mentoring our young people, being able to step up and be there for them. And you know exposing them to different opportunities; getting them out of environments that may be a little toxic.”

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