http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2007/sep/27/memphis-leads-us-in-violent-crime/ Memphis leads U.S. in violent crime But police director says city showing 7% decline in 2007 By Christopher Conley (Contact) Thursday, September 27, 2007 The Memphis metropolitan area, after coming in second last year, tops this year's ranking of metro areas by the rate of violent crime -- homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery. In 2006, according to crime numbers released by the FBI, the eight-county Memphis metropolitan area recorded 1,262.7 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the highest rate in the nation. Last year, the Florence, S.C., metropolitan statistical area had the highest violent crime rate in the country. Memphis came in second with 1,197 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. And that was up from 1,132 in 2004. The Memphis metro area includes Crittenden County in Arkansas, DeSoto, Marshall, Tate and Tunica counties in Mississippi, and Fayette, Shelby, Tipton counties in Tennessee. But the people are concentrated in Memphis and Shelby County. And so far in 2007, violent crimes inside the Memphis city limits have dropped by about 7 percent, according to Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin. Overall, the serious crimes that are reported to the FBI -- which includes both crimes against persons and property crimes -- are down this year by just over 6 percent. Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission head Michael Heidingsfield wasn't surprised by the most recent numbers. In fact, the poor numbers for 2005 were part of the impetus for Project Safe Community, an effort to bring all the local law enforcement and other sectors of the community together in a comprehensive crime reduction plan. When looking at what's happening in Memphis, it's important to consider what other factors set the area apart from places with lower rates of crime, he said. "Memphis doesn't enjoy the typical suburban affluence that other areas do, and that could set us aside," Heidingsfield explained. "As there is re-gentrification in the inner cities, you see a change in crime rates," he said. New York is probably the best example, where they have seen several decades of rebuilding. Violent crime, and street crime generally, are typically displaced by an influx of wealth. Also, the numbers released by the FBI reflect only what has been reported to them by local communities. Not all communities report the same way, despite the conversion in 2000/2001 to NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System), an attempt to standardize crime reporting nationwide. Other nearby cities didn't fare well either on the FBI numbers this year: the Little Rock metro area registered 905.5 violent crimes per 100,000; Nashville-Davidson MSA had 857.7. Jackson, Miss., was well down the list with 456 violent crimes per 100,000. -- Chris Conley: 529-2595 Violent crime Memphis topped the list of 311 metro areas in its 2006 rate of violent crime -- homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery. The top 10 and selected others (violent crimes per 100,000 residents): 1. Memphis 1,262.7 2. Sumter, S.C. 1,244.0 3. Shreveport, La. 1,187.9 4. Florence, S.C. 1,160.6 5. Saginaw, Mich. 1,089.8 6. Alexandria, La. 1,067.4 7. Gainesville, Fla. 934.1 8. Anchorage, Alaska 932.3 9. Flint, Mich. 929.6 10. Salisbury, Md. 907.6 12. Little Rock 905.5 13. Jackson, Tenn. 879.2 20. Nashville 857.7 59. Chattanooga 599.5 74. Jonesboro, Ark. 561.9 106. Knoxville 513.5 131. Jackson, Miss. 456.1 Source: crimetrends.com Wanna kill these ads? We can help!