MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Gun violence is one of the biggest problems in Shelby County, and the most troubling offenders are young adults. Prosecutors are concerned about the increased violence among people 24 and under and said it will be a top priority for them in 2012.
21-year-old Greg Bohanon, Jr. likes to shoot baskets, and not much else. Bohanon grew up in Orange Mound and said he doesn't need a gun. But he admits, that's rare for young men his age.
"I don't like to be around people who have guns because it makes me uncomfortable," he said. "It's a big problem and people are getting killed every day."
Memphis is one of six cities selected by the Obama administration to focus on curbing violence by those 24 and under. The Shelby County District Attorney, Amy Weirich, said crime is down in every area except domestic violence and violence committed by young people. Shelby County is in the middle of a plan that focuses on prevention, early enforcement, intervention and re-entry.
"Hopefully we'll see some progress in the future," Weirich told abc24.com. "It's not going to happen over night. It's going to take some work but what you have is the focus, dedication and commitment of many people in the community trying to get a handle on this."
Bohanon said the problem is parents who don't care. He said, "They go to a friend and say my mom and dad are doing this, so can you help me? And they say yeah… and they hand them a gun and say go rob this and go rob that and that's the problem."
It's a cyclical problem that Weirich hopes Shelby County can attack head on.
"If we can get a handle on the gang violence, we'll get a handle on the youth violence. You get a handle on the youth violence, you get a handle on the gang violence."
The City of Memphis recently received a nearly $5 million grant to focus on ways to address the problem.