VOL. 132 | NO. 99 | Thursday, May 18, 2017
Memphis, Shelby County See Bump in Major Violent Crime Rate
By Bill Dries
Major violent crime in Memphis and countywide increased from January to April by 4.4 percent and 4.2 percent respectively compared to the first four months of 2016, according to numbers released Thursday, May 18, by the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission.
And major property took a bigger jump – up 12.9 percent in Memphis and 11.2 percent countywide for the four-month period compared to a year ago.
“Any way you look at them, these latest numbers are not acceptable,” said Bill Gibbons, president of the crime commission. “The city is making good progress in increasing the number of police officers. And a number of steps to tackle gun and gang violence are in the works.”
Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich pointed to the Community Prosecution plan that is moving court proceedings on some crimes into the communities where they occur.
“While the overall numbers are not what we would like them to be, there are some encouraging signs from the Community Prosecution program in two Memphis Police Department precincts, where serious crime has dropped for a number of reporting periods,” she said in a written statement. “Hopefully that trend will continue as we all move forward and work together to make Memphis a better and safer place to live.”
Among the major violent crime categories, murders were at the same rate – citywide and countywide – as they were for the first four months of 2016, a year in which Memphis set a new record for homicides with a count of 228.
Reported rapes increased 22.4 percent in Memphis and 22.6 percent countywide from a year ago.
In the major property crime categories, auto theft continued a surge seen earlier in the year, increasing 47.5 percent in Memphis and 47 percent countywide from a year ago. Theft offenses were up 13.2 percent citywide and 11.6 percent countywide over the same period.
Domestic violence reports, a separate category from the major violent crime categories, rose 9.1 percent in Memphis and 6.4 percent countywide during the four-month period compared to a year ago.