NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Fifty people have been murdered in Nashville so far this year, which is an increase from this time last year.
Now, community members are weighing in on the possible reasons behind the rise.
According to data provided to News 2 by Metro Police, 29 of the murder victims were black males.
Seveteen victims were between the ages of 18 and 24. Fifteen of the victims were between ages 25-34. Nearly all had been shot.
Steve Ganaway owns SAG Funeral Home in North Nashville. He says business is good, which is terrible for Nashville.
“I’m holding funerals three days a week for the young men in our community,” Ganaway told News 2. “We are burying our future.”
Of the 50 murder cases, 22 remain unsolved. There have been 33 people arrested in connection to the murders.
Seven of the murder suspects are 17 or younger with the youngest being 14.
“We need to get a grip on this, and we need to come together and do something about this before it’s too late,” Ganaway said.
The way Ganaway sees it is that, Nashville has a lot of money but not enough is being put into poor, black communities.
“I look around and we don’t have the community centers that we used to have out here,” he said. “We don’t have the swimming pools that we used to have out here.”
Mayor Barry has asked to fund 70 new police officers in her budget.
“That includes 22 foot patrol officers who will be focused on building stronger community relationships to help stop crime before it starts,” said Sean Braisted, Mayor Barry’s Press Secretary, in a statement.
“Additionally, Mayor Barry created the Opportunity NOW initiative this year to give 10,000 youth aged 14-24 job opportunities and meaningful paid internships in the summer and beyond,” the statement continued. “We hope the increase in public safety resources, as well as the increased economic opportunity, will keep youth and young adults safe and away from criminal activity.”
Ganaway calls it a good start but there’s more work to do.
“You’re putting million dollar homes right in the middle of all this stuff,” Ganaway said. “But before you put that stuff out there you have to straighten out those areas you’re putting that stuff in. Not running the people off, but helping the people.”
According to the numbers, the deadliest month so far this year has been May. The deadliest day was Thursday with three homicides in less than 24 hours.