Weapon and drug charges are on the rise in Memphis this year, according to new statistics from the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission.
The two likely go hand in hand with the city's higher-than-usual homicide rate, which is up about 72 percent over this time last year.
For the period between January and April 2016, weapons violations were up 17 percent in the city and 16 percent countywide. Drug violations were up 25 percent in Memphis and 21 percent countywide for that same period. The overall major violent crime rate to date is up 9 percent in Memphis and 11 percent countywide. Major violent crimes include murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery.
Despite the high numbers, the Crime Commission says major violence crime is still down 11 percent in Memphis and 14 percent countywide when compared to the same time in 2006, the year the commission launched its massive crime-fighting strategy, Operation: Safe Community (OSC). OSC includes the Memphis Police Department's data-driven policing model Blue CRUSH, efforts to reduce truancy and gang crime, and several other initiatives.
Also, major property crime rate is on the decline. Burglaries, auto thefts, and other theft offenses have dropped by 5 percent in Memphis compared with this time last year and 40 percent compared with the first four months of 2006. The countywide rate dropped 7 percent from last year and 41 percent from 2006.
“The level of violent crime in Memphis and Shelby County is unacceptable. We must continue our commitment to the implementation of Operation: Safe Community, including data-driven deployment of police, vigorous prosecution of convicted felons who persist in toting guns, effective drug treatment and breaking the cycle of domestic violence," said Tennessee Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security Bill Gibbons, who will take over as president of the commission on September 1st. "We have planned our work. We need to keep working our plan.”