Rep. Steve Cohen Wants Taxpayers to Pay to Reduce Memphis’ High Crime Rate


U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat representing Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District, says Memphis’ crime rate is too high and you, the federal taxpayer, must chip in to make it right.

Last week, Cohen and U.S. Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat representing Florida’s 10th Congressional District, introduced the Safer Streets Act. They describe it as a new grant program that will help cities with high rates of violent crime.

“The Safer Streets Act is intended to provide additional funding to address violent crime in places where the rate is significantly above the national average – places like Memphis,” Cohen said in a press release.

“With these grants, local governments with crime rates four times the national average would be eligible for half of the funds; those with three times the national rate would be eligible for 20 percent of the funds and those with twice that national rate would be eligible for the remaining 10 percent of funds. The bill also creates an emergency fund for units of local government that have spikes of violent crime.”

If the Safer Streets Act is enacted into law then the U.S. Department of Justice will administer grants to local jurisdictions to hire more law enforcement officers. The program would also pay for more surveillance equipment and crime prevention programs, the press release said.

No one in Cohen’s office returned The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Monday concerning which cities would get the money, how much the program would cost taxpayers, or what metrics federal officials would have in place to make sure the program works.

The Star also wanted to ask what specific crime prevention programs Cohen has in mind and whether the program would come to an end if it does not reduce crime.

As The Tennessee Watchdog reported in 2014, the federal departments of education and justice, under former Democratic President Barack Obama sent a combined $1.7 million in taxpayer money to combat youth violence in Memphis.

Cohen also announced those two initiatives at the time and said “this funding will be a valuable asset as we work to address the underlying causes of youth violence and prevent bad behavior before it becomes a bigger problem.”

Memphis officials were to use this money to, among other things, teach at-risk teenagers about violence prevention strategies and provide social and emotional support.

According to, Memphis is the fourth most dangerous city in the United States with a violent crime rate of 1,583 per 100,000 residents.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]





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9 Thoughts to “Rep. Steve Cohen Wants Taxpayers to Pay to Reduce Memphis’ High Crime Rate”

  1. Dave Turner

    I would find out how or what relative will gain from scamming us the tax payers.

    I’m sure one of his friends or relative will head this program and give him nice kick backs to get it done.

    Maybe 10 cents of each dollar will be used and the other 90 cents to relative and kick backs.

    No taxes to this moron Dem.

  2. Rick

    Money will not fix the problems in Memphis , either Memphis itself fix there own problems or bring in federal marshal law in Memphis. I say only marshal law will work.

  3. Overtaxed Nashvillian

    Memphis is a lost cause.

  4. Money give Memphis our money! Memphis has no intention of fixing it’s Democrat induced problems. Buy the votes of the indentured by giving them some more money, our money. Anyone looked at the high incomes of Memphis Officials?
    Get rid of the ghettos and Great Society projects, and if they want handouts, those that can, should return to taxpayers effort in honest work and not pushing a broom for an hour and standing around for our or six more.
    Cohen wants and gets their votes by giving them hand outs and promoting their anti Americanism.

  5. Wolf Woman

    Someone once told me Steve Cohen was really smart. Turns out he’s not. He’s a typical democrat who loves to feed at the Federal government trough, a tried and true socialist, and a nasty-mouthed hypocritical hack politician who obviously has not helped his constituency at all.

  6. Traditional thinker

    Youve made that bed all by yourself “It” star, now sleep in it you idiot.

  7. Russ

    Sorry, Memphis needs to address it’s own problems, like ALL other cities in the state. Memphis has a history of high crime, and bad management. When people stop electing people that have no business being in office, their problems will get better.

    1. EdC

      There is a mountain of truth in your post. The same can be applied to entire states.

    2. Mike wood

      You hit the nail on the head.