Violent Crime Rises, Domestic Violence and Property Crime Drops 

Major violent crime rose last year, but domestic violence and property crime experienced a slight decrease. 

According to the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission’s crime statistics report for 2014, homicides increased 14.4 percent in Memphis last year. In 2013, there were 125 murders in the city. The number jumped to 143 murders last year.

Major violent crime — murders, forcible rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies — increased 4.5 percent in Memphis last year. However, major violent crime has decreased 16.2 percent since 2006.

Last year, there were 7,534 aggravated assaults — a 4.2 percent increase from 2013’s amount of 7,232.

Robberies also experienced a slight hike in 2014. There were 3,317 — a 5 percent increase from the 3,159 in 2013.

In 2014, rape was viewed in a different light than previous years. This is attributed to a new definition for rape being established under the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. The new definition, which went into effect in 2013, classifies forcible rape as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Prior to 2013, forcible rapes were defined as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Rapes by force and attempts or assaults to rape, regardless of the age of the victim, are included. Statutory offenses are excluded.”

Under the new definition, there were 481 reported occurrences of forcible rapes last year. This represents a 4.1 percent increase of the offense in comparison to 2013’s number of 462.

If rape was considered under the old definition, there would have only been 346 forcible rapes reported in Memphis last year. This would have represented a 3.9 percent decrease, compared to 2013’s amount of 360. 

Major property crime — burglaries, theft offenses, and motor vehicle theft — decreased in Memphis last year. Burglaries dropped 6 percent, theft offenses decreased 2.5 percent, but motor vehicle theft increased 9.7 percent.

In the city, simple assaults dropped 11.6 percent last year. Weapon law violations decreased 15.1 percent, and drug/narcotic violations plummeted 29.5 percent.

Domestic violence decreased 10.1 percent in 2014. Last year, there were 17,336 domestic violence offenses reported in Memphis. In 2013, there were 19,287 domestic violence offenses.

By Louis Goggans

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