The latest figures released by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission show the murder rate in Memphis is down by 26 percent from this time last year, from 7.6 per 100,000 persons this time last year to 5.6 as of March 31.
Contrariwise, property crimes for the city have jumped by 14.6 percent from this time last year. The bulk of this increase is due to motor vehicle thefts; 52.3 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 persons living in Memphis. This time last year, the number was 43.8 thefts per 100,000.
Major violent crimes as a total category include murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. Despite the decrease in murders, the total rate is stagnate for now compared to last year — only a .2 percent increase.
President of the crime commission, Bill Gibbons, says he is concerned about the continued rise of motor vehicle thefts but adds that he encouraged by the increase of arrests for motor vehicle thefts, up 68 percent from this time last year.
"Hopefully, this will send a clear message to perpetrators and serve as a deterrent going forward," said Gibbons.
The crime commission began tracking major offenses in 2006, a notably high-crime year for Memphis, using preliminary data gathered from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Though the last 11 years contain plenty of nuances and fluctuations in multiple crime categories, the overall number of "Group A crimes" — 54 categories including both violent and property offenses — has decreased by 17.2 percent in Memphis.
All stats reported above reflect data specific to the City of Memphis. The updated crime states from January 1 - March 31, 2016, compared to January 1 - March 31, 2017, for the whole of Shelby County are as follows:
Overall Crime Rate/ Group A Offenses — 4.9 percent increase
Major Violent Crimes — 0.3 percent increase
Major Property Crime — 12.9 percent increase
Murder — 26 percent decrease