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VOL. 131 | NO. 233 | Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Major Violent Crime Increase Continues Through October

By Bill Dries

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Major violent crime citywide and countywide remained higher for the year through October than it was a year ago at the same time, according to the latest crime statistics from the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission.

The statistics, released Tuesday, Nov. 22, show a 3 percent increase from a year ago in the city’s Major Violent Crime stats, a category that consists of murders, rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies.

The major violent crime rate increased by 4.2 percent from the first 10 months of 2015 countywide, including the city of Memphis.

The rate of murders in the city and countywide were responsible for most of the increase in the overall violent crime rate. The 16 murders per 100,000 population countywide was a 28.2 percent increase from a year ago at the same time. The 21.5 murders per 100,000 population in the city was a 23.7 percent increase from a year ago.

That is expected to continue when the November figures are tallied. The city logged its 200th homicide for 2016 before Thanksgiving, ahead of the homicide pace for 2015.

The year 2016 began with a spike in the murder rate that has since slowed but still remains above the 2015 rate of 161. The city’s record is 213 homicides in 1993.

Meanwhile, the new numbers through October show increases in aggravated assaults and robberies – a 3 percent and 4.7 percent increase respectively in Memphis from a year ago and up 4.5 percent and 5 percent respectively countywide from 2015.

“Our big challenge is to develop and maintain a downward trend in our major violent crime rate,” said Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, chair of the Operation: Safe Community anti-crime coalition, in a prepared statement.

The crime commission recently unveiled its new five-year plan for Operation: Safe Community.

“The number of murders continues to be of major concern,” said Crime Commission president Bill Gibbons. “And far too often, robberies and aggravated assaults can escalate into murders.”

The crime statistics use 2006 as a baseline year. That is the year Operation: Safe Community began.

Compared to the 2006 baseline, major violent crime countywide is down 14.4 percent and it is down 11.1 percent in the city.

But the murder rate as compared to 2006 is up 11.1 percent citywide and up 10.5 percent countywide.

Meanwhile, major property crime countywide is down 3.5 percent from the first 10 months of 2015 and down 1.7 percent citywide by the same comparison.

Motor vehicle thefts in the city spiked 14.5 percent compared to 2015 and went up 13.3 percent countywide. Burglaries dropped by 10.1 percent in the city compared to a year ago and dropped 11.4 percent countywide.

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396