Categorized | Education & Safety

Violent Crime Rate Continues to Drop

Star Staff Reports

9Based 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 percent compared to 2017, building on a 5.1 percent first quarter drop. Countywide, the decline for the first half of the year was 6.4 percent, building on a 4.9 percent 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 percent in the city of Memphis and 5.5 percent countywide compared to the first half of last year. Motor vehicle thefts increased 18.4 percent in Memphis and 21.1 percent countywide. At the same time, another major property crime category – burglary – dropped 11.2 percent in Memphis and 8.6 percent 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 vand down 1.7 percent 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.

In measuring overall crime rates and trends, the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission and the Public Safety Institute use data reported by local enforcement agencies to the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS), which was developed and is maintained by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

An incident is defined in TIBRS as “one or more offenses committed by the same offender, or group of offenders acting in concert, at the same time and place.” Reported major violent crime and domestic violence offenses, however, uniquely refer to a victim count versus an incident count. All rates are calculated based on per 100,000 population.

The Memphis Shelby Crime Commission is an independent, non-profit 501(c) (3) organization that “quarterbacks” the work of the Operation: Safe Community (OSC) plan and its partners. It is funded through the generous contributions of many private sector donors.

Ben Adams, CEO of Baker Donelson law firm, serves as chair of the board, and Bill Gibbons serves as president of the Commission.

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