VOL. 133 | NO. 77 | Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Major Violent Crime Drops In Latest Crime Stats
By Bill Dries
Major violent crime for the first quarter of 2018 was down 5.1 percent in Memphis compared to a year ago and down 4.9 percent countywide over the same period.
The crime statistics from the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission and the University of Memphis Public Safety Institute released Tuesday, April 17, show major property crime was up 2.8 percent in the city and increased 4.5 percent countywide from the first three months of 2017.
The figures are from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
“While it’s too early to predict a trend, a lot of the steps in the Operation: Safe Community plan that are designed to impact the violent crime rate are now being implemented,” said Bill Gibbons, the president of the crime commission and executive director of the public safety institute. “With a focused and sustained effort, we can impact the crime rate significantly.”
Operation: Safe Community is the anti-crime plan backed by a coalition of local law enforcement and criminal justice system leaders.
The rate of murders in Memphis from January through March was down 37.8 percent compared to a year ago with 28 murders through the end of March or 4.3 per 100,000 population.
The decrease was 35.6 percent countywide over the same period with 29 murders for the entire county or 3.1 per 100,000 population.
Only one of the four categories that make up major violent crime rate – aggravated assaults – increased in the first quarter, up 0.4 percent countywide and 1.2 percent in the city.
Motor vehicle thefts drove the city and countywide jump in major property crime for the quarter with a 31.1 percent increase from a year ago in Memphis, or 198.9 per 100,000 population. The countywide increase in motor vehicle thefts was 30.8 percent higher than a year ago with 153.5 per 100,000 population.
District Attorney General Amy Weirich, who is chairwoman of Operation: Safe Community, said nearly half of the auto theft cases are the result of drivers leaving keys in the ignition and/or leaving a car running while they step away.
“Certainly lives are always more important than property,” she said in a written statement. “So I am extremely happy to see in this report a reduction in violent crimes both in the city and in the county,”