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VOL. 133 | NO. 23 | Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Local Crime Statistics Show General Crime Rise, Drop in Murders

By Bill Dries

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Year-end crime statistics from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission confirm a drop in the murder rate for 2017 compared to the city’s record murder rate in 2016.

But the numbers also show violent crime in general increased in 2017 from 2016 by 8.3 percent in the city and 7.9 percent countywide, which includes the city of Memphis.

The major violent crime category includes not only murders but rape, aggravated assault and robbery.

The city’s murder count dropped in 2017 from the record 2016 count of 228. But major violent crime was up and so was major property crime, Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission statistics show. (Daily News File)

The city’s 200 murders in 2017 compared to a record 228 in 2016.

Aggravated assaults and robberies in Memphis were up 9.3 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, from the previous year. Countywide aggravated assaults were up 9.3 percent and robberies 7.4 percent from 2016.

The number of rapes reported showed no change countywide and was down 0.2 percent in Memphis from the previous year.

Domestic violence, which is a category of its own, increased in 2017 by 2.7 percent countywide and by 4.1 percent in Memphis compared to 2016.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation statistics showed a 6.3 percent jump in the overall crime rate for Memphis compared to 2016 and a 6 percent increase countywide. The overall crime rate as measured by the TBI takes in 54 different categories of crime.

The local crime commission statistics on overall property crime showed a larger percentage increase in Memphis and countywide than the major violent crime increases – 9.8 percent in Memphis and 9.5 percent countywide compared to 2016.

The property crime increase was driven by a 23.9 percent increase in auto thefts in Memphis over last year and a 20.4 percent increase countywide.

Thefts also spiked, with an 11.6 percent increase in that category countywide and an 11.2 percent increase in the city year-over-year.

Crime commission president Bill Gibbons, who is also executive director the University of Memphis Public Safety Institute, termed the drop in murders “encouraging.”

“The overall level of violence remains unacceptable,” he added in a written statement. “Implementation of a number of key steps this year in the Operation: Safe Community crime plan can help drive down the level of violence.”

Operation: Safe Community is a coalition of law enforcement, civic and elected leaders who oversee a countywide anti-crime strategy.

The measures Gibbons referred to include increasing the ranks of the Memphis Police force, which in 2017 showed a net gain in police officers for the first time in six years, and adding officers to the Multi-Agency Gang Unit as well as violence intervention programs.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0