Chattanooga murder rate highest in a decade
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Chattanooga Police began the first week of 2011 tracking down the killer of Meco Siler.
The 29-year-old was found stabbed to death at a hotel.
Police would later arrest Brandon Russell charging him with murder.
At that time Siler's mother lost her daughter, son, and ex-husband to violence.
Police ended the year investigating two of its youngest murder victims on December 19th.
Shaviya Vinson was only 15-years-old when she was stabbed in the chest with scissors.
Ty'reke Evans was 4-years-old when he was beaten to death.
Chattanooga had 25 homicides altogether in 2011, the highest since 2001. The city had the fewest in 2009, with 11.
Here is a map with indicators and details of where the murders happened.
Many of the suspects or victims were 25-years-old or younger.
Richard Bennett with "A Better Tomorrow" program says many young people who get involved with violence only do it for respect and don't consider the consequences.
Bennett's program works with troubled teens and young adults who struggle with gang violence and who are looking for a way out.
He says a strong community is the first steps to helping pull a younger generation away from violence.
"What we have learned is the more we love on them and give them structure, they choose to get out of the life on their own," Bennett says.
Mayor Ron Littlefield says his administration does offer alternatives to keep kids out of gangs and off the streets.
Starting January 9th The Parks and Recreation Department will host a program called "Who you reppin?'"
It will allow teens and young adults to talk to city leaders about programs they'd like to see in the city.
Visit http://www.chattanooga.gov/30_prac.htm for more information.