VOL. 132 | NO. 144 | Friday, July 21, 2017
Violent Crime Up Locally Almost 10 Percent
By Bill Dries
Major violent crime in Memphis and countywide was up almost 10 percent for the first six months of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016, the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission reported Friday, July 21.
Major violent crime as a general category was up 9.9 percent for Memphis and 9.3 percent countywide even as the rate of murders -- one of four specific categories that make up the general category dropped 12.2 percent citywide and 14.9 percent countywide from a year ago.
The increase in violent crime was driven instead by a 14.5 percent increase in aggravated assaults in the city compared to the first half of 2016 -- a 13.4 percent increase countywide.
Major property crime citywide was up 10.6 percent from a year ago at this time, 9.4 percent countywide. The increase there was driven by a 37.2 percent increase in motor vehicle theft citywide -- 34.6 percent countywide.
“None of us involved in meeting this challenge find the current situation acceptable,” said Crime Commission president Bill Gibbons, who is also executive director of the University of Memphis Public Safety Institute. “We must stay focused on continuing to implement steps that can have a positive impact on the level of crime and have a healthy sense of urgency about it.”
Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said his officers will “continue to work diligently to implement and evaluate our crime fighting strategies.”
Rallings also added that the spike in car thefts is the result of more motorists leaving their cars running while they run errands. “That invites theft,” he said in a written statement.