MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – You know, four years ago, when a lot of Memphis City Council members and Mayor Jim Strickland were first elected, crime was the big issue. Four years later, crime is still the big issue.
Everybody in City Hall knows it. Nothing has changed when it comes to people concerned about crime in Memphis.
Councilman Worth Morgan will tell you.
“I think crime and public safety is still everyone’s number one issue,” he says.
Morgan says there is no doubt about it. And yes, he was happy to hear statistics that said the overall crime rate is down by more than 6%. That’s according to the latest numbers from Memphis Police.
Police Director Mike Rallings says, “Perception is important, and that’s why we work here every day to continue to reduce crime. But as a law enforcement professional, I have to look at the data.”
That data also says the Memphis murder rate is almost 25% higher than last year.
Numbers. Graphs. In color.
The City Council asks for crime updates from the Memphis Police, and Director Rallings gives them crime updates.
“We’re measured every day on what we do,” Director Rallings says. “We measure everything. We measure response time. We measure 911 answer time. We measure our daily crime. We have to pay attention to the numbers, but we know we have to do a better job.”
The surveys continue to rank Memphis as one of the most dangerous cities in the country.
More officers are being hired, Director Rallings says. Maybe there will be 2,100 officers on board by this fall.
“Surveys are something that, you know, are great for media,” he says. “It’s great talking points. I don’t need a survey to say we have a challenge, and we need to do something about it.”