Weekly Update: Encouraging crime trends, more jobs for youth


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No one at City Hall is giving high-fives, saying the mission is accomplished, or turning their attention to other items. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out some encouraging, positive news that came this week on our work to reduce violent crime.

In the first quarter of 2018, compared to the first quarter of 2017, the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission tells us that:

  • The murder rate fell 38 percent
  • Major violent crime fell 5 percent
  • Major property crime increased 3 percent

These violent crime statistics are encouraging, but they don't signal that our work is done. They signal that our work to should build on this. We will continue to rebuild the Memphis Police Department, continue all the advances we've made in providing opportunities to young people, continue our quest for economic growth, continue to work for stiffer sentences for violent crimes, and continue our work to reduce recidivism.

It’s important that we not let up. Next week, I’ll be unveiling a 2018-19 budget proposal to the City Council that will make targeted, strategic investments in enhancing public safety. We’ll share more then.

Hire Memphis: Ensuring that every young person in Memphis has an opportunity to get an education and a job that pays a living wage is part of my vision for a stronger city. The task is tall: A 2015 study said that we had the highest percentage of youth without a job or not in school of any city in the nation.

But we’re tackling it. And this week, we launched what I think will be an important part of this work: the Hire Memphis online job board. We’ve partnered with top employers in Memphis to post their jobs online so people ages 16-24 can be easily connected to opportunities. More and more jobs should populate the site in the coming weeks, too.

Memphis is an opportunity city. We have thousands of available jobs, free community and technical college, and free assistance on all kinds of workforce skills. We need more and more people to be aware of these opportunities -- visit opportunitymemphis.com to learn more, and check out jobs for young people at hirememphis.org.

Did you hear? The trolleys are coming back to Main Street. Look for the launch of passenger service on April 30!

Addressing the problem: Part of being brilliant at the basics of government is acknowledging when we’re not, fixing the situation, and working to change systems so that the issue doesn’t happen again.

In recent days, we’ve experienced an unacceptable backlog of solid waste pickup for customers of our contracted provider, Inland Waste. This is not the level of service that citizens should expect from City government, and I apologize for it.

No excuses.

We’ve added contractors to help Inland recover from the backlog, both with cart (garbage/recycling) service and with yard waste. And in the long term, I’ve charged our team with developing a strategy to improve solid waste pickup to provide a better service for all citizens of Memphis.

We’ve been updating citizens in the affected areas through the week on our social media channels (join us on Nextdoor, if you haven't), and through the media.

We have momentum: Take a moment to look at this video that our friends at ServiceMaster posted this week touting their move Downtown.

Two weeks after taking office in January 2016, we assembled a team dedicated to convincing this Fortune 1000 company not just to call Memphis home, but to double down by filling an empty building Downtown.

It worked. And now, Downtown is even more vibrant with some 1,200 new workers at the corner of Peabody Place and B.B. King Boulevard.

Check out the video here.

Remembering First Lady Bush: I, too, was saddened to hear the news this week that former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away. I was immediately reminded of a quote of hers that I’ll close today’s email by sharing with you:

“At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.”

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