2017 was a deadly year for Nashville teens: 13 juveniles were victims of gun violence last year, and 12 others were charged with homicide.
Sahtika Begley says she is making it her mission to speak out against these senseless acts of violence, in memory of her daughter.
Begley's 16-year-old daughter Deberianah was caught in the crossfire of a shooting at James Cayce Homes back in October. The hallways inside her home serve as a shrine to her late daughter and the life that could have been.
Begley says the rise in teen violence boils down to one thing.
“The gun violence is not going to stop unless the parents start being parents,” Begley said. “It’s called lack of loving at home. That's why they go out at the age of nine and ten years old and join gangs because they feel like the love is not coming from where they need it."
Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson says his department needs to start investing more in the fight against youth violence.
“I think what ought to be acknowledged there is that the homes aren't the best environment," said Anderson. "So, as a society, we're going to have to do whatever is necessary to give these kids a home that is a good environment."
Begley would like to see the police spend more time in Nashville's communities and get to know the youth.
Anderson says the goal for 2018 is to increase Metro Police's presence in neighborhoods that need it. The plan is to add more than 70 officers over the next year and create a permanent walking patrol out of that pool of officers.
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