Based on preliminary figures from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), major violent crime in Memphis and Shelby County continued to drop during the first half of this year compared to last year, according to the University of Memphis Public Safety Institute and the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. The mid-year figure builds on a decline during the first quarter of the year.
In the city of Memphis, the mid-year major violent crime rate dropped 8.1% compared to 2017, building on a 5.1% first quarter drop. Countywide, the decline for the first half of the year was 6.4%, building on a 4.9% decline during the first quarter. Major violent crimes include murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults. Reported crimes were down in all four categories.
Driven by an increase in motor vehicle thefts, major property crime was up 4.3% in the city of Memphis and 5.5% countywide compared to the first half of last year. Motor vehicle thefts increased 18.4% in Memphis and 21.1% countywide. At the same time, another major property crime category – burglary – dropped 11.2% in Memphis and 8.6% throughout the county.
Group A offenses include 54 different categories of crime measured by the TBI and reflect an overall crime rate. In Memphis, this overall crime rate was down 3.1% and down 1.7% countywide.
“We will continue to work diligently in an effort to decrease our crime rate even more. Our No. 1 goal is to further our crime fighting initiatives to make Memphis a safety place. Statistically, the number of violent crimes is down, but as long as there is one citizen that falls victim to a crime, there is more work to be done,” said Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings.
“We are fortunate to be among the few major communities in the country with a true community-wide plan to reduce crime – Operation: Safe Community. We have a long way to go to get where we need to be, but the drop in the violent crime rate and in the burglary rate is especially encouraging,” said Bill Gibbons, executive director of the Public Safety Institute and president of the Crime Commission.
Crime reached a high level in 2006, prompting the community to come together behind the first five-year Operation: Safe Community plan. During the next five years, both major violent crime and major property crime declined by over 20 percent, with violent crime hitting a low point in 2011 and property crime continuing to drop through 2016. Both the major violent crime rate and major property crime rate remain well below the 2006 level.