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Behind the Headlines

BTH: Interventions with the "High Risk" Could Reduce Homicides in Memphis


This week on Channel 10’s Behind the Headlines, Patrick Lawler, CEO of Youth Villages, and Susan Deason, Executive Director of Memphis Allies join host Eric Barnes and Daily Memphian reporter Bill Dries.

"[Memphis] murder rate is about twice as high as Chicago, Illinois," says Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler. 

Nationally, Memphis is listed in the top ten cities for homicide rates per capita, with most offenders being adults. Lawler says that typically, Youth Villages serves children and young adults, up to the age of 22, who need "a wide range of emotional, mental and behavioral" assistance.

However, something had to be done about the local violent crime rate as it affected everyone in the community, including children and young adults. 

Youth Villages created an organization called Memphis Allies, which targets the most high-risk individuals, up to the age of 35, who are likely to commit a violent crime. Memphis Allies composed an evidence-based intervention model called SWITCH, which they now use to reduce the homicide rate in Memphis.

Lawler is joined by Susan Deason, Executive Director of Memphis Allies. Guests discuss Memphis Allies' plan to reduce violent crimes and how they hope to grow the program in the years to come.