VOL. 132 | NO. 14 | Thursday, January 19, 2017
Major Violent Crime Up in 2016, Driven by Growth in Murder Rate
By Bill Dries
Major violent crime in Memphis for 2016 was up 3.2 percent from 2015 fueled by a 23.9 percent increase in the murder rate and a 4.3 percent rise in aggravated assaults from a year ago.
The year-end numbers from the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission show an increase countywide in the major violent crime rate – 4.3 percent from 2015 with a 29.1 percent increase in the murder rate and 5.6 percent in aggravated assaults.
Major property crime in the city was down 0.9 percent from 2015 by the Crime Commission numbers and down 2.3 percent countywide.
Domestic violence, which is a separate category from major violent crime and major property crime, was up 0.7 percent in the city from 2015 and up 1.5 percent countywide.
“These numbers show there’s much work to do,” said Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, chairwoman of Operation: Safe Community, the coalition of law enforcement and criminal justice groups who use the statistics as part of a long-term crime-fighting strategy.
“They also give us a roadmap on where to focus our collective efforts to reduce crime for the betterment of all of Memphis,” she added.
Crime Commission president Bill Gibbons, who is also executive director of the University of Memphis Public Safety Institute, said the group has a “good plan to dramatically reduce violent crime in particular.”
“But we must have a focused, determined sense of urgency to implement the plan,” Gibbons added.
The Crime Commission has been keeping track of the crime statistics using a uniform set of standards for measuring major violent and property crime per 100,000 population since 2006. The goal in the consistency is to determine whether crime is up or down and in what categories.
Compared to 2006, the baseline year, major violent crime countywide was down 12.5 percent in 2016 and major property crime was down 35.8 percent.
In the city, major violent crime for 2016 was down 9 percent compared to 2006 and major property crime was down 33 percent by the same comparison.
By a simple count of all homicides, Memphis set a record in 2016 with 228 homicides, breaking the old record of 208 in 1993.
The 2016 Memphis murder rate as measured by the Crime Commission using Tennessee Bureau of Investigation standards was 26.1 per 100,000 population. And it is the highest murder rate going back to the baseline year of 2006.
The countywide rate for 2016 was 19.4 per 100,000 population and it too is the highest since the 2006 baseline year.