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Memphis #2 in violent crimes; Nashville #4

Discussion in 'Volunteer Glockers' started by SouthernGal, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. SouthernGal

    SouthernGal What's Up Dox?

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    Jun 18, 2004
    NW MS

    Number 2 with a bullet: Memphis ranks 2nd in violent crimes despite drop last year

    By Cindy Wolff (Contact)
    Memphis Commercial Appeal
    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Among large cities in America, Memphis ranked second in violent crimes last year even though the city showed a 4 percent drop compared with 2006, an FBI report released Monday shows.

    Detroit edged Memphis for the No. 1 spot in cities with more than 500,000 people. There were 1,950 violent crimes reported in Memphis last year per 100,000 people vs. 2,286 in Detroit.

    Preliminary figures show a 1.4 percent nationwide decrease in the number of violent crimes compared with 2006. The drop followed a two-year jump in violent crime nationally of 1.9 percent in 2006 and 2.3 percent in 2005.

    Because the preliminary figures do not contain the detailed age, race and gender breakdowns available in the final report later in the year, they may unintentionally mask a growing murder rate among black male teenagers and young adults, particularly with guns, said James Alan Fox, professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University.

    "We shouldn't be fooled into thinking our problems are over," Fox said. He pointed out that from 2002 to 2006 the rate of murder committed by black male teens rose 52 percent.

    "Violence is down among whites of all ages and both genders; it's up among black males, not black females," Fox said. "When you blend all the national numbers together you fail to see this divergence. There are many more whites in the population, so their decline can dwarf the increase among young black males."

    Fox said black males are "feeling the impact of the economic decline and an increase in gangs and illegal gun markets. Gangs and youth crime are a growing problem despite these rosy statistics."

    Memphis, with a population of 669,264, showed a drop in murder, robbery and aggravated assault, but rape was up.

    The FBI's preliminary figures don't calculate the per capita crime rate but instead lists totals for cities with populations over 100,000.

    Criminologists said while the numbers are interesting, they don't reflect factors each city faces in dealing with crime.

    "Memphis is a very poor city and where there are high rates of poverty, there's more crime," said Richard Janikowski, associate professor for the Center for Community Criminology and Research for the University of Memphis.

    The statistics don't reflect what areas of the city are more violent, Janikowski said.

    "People are not equally at risk," he said.

    The professor is featured in a 12-page article in The Atlantic magazine, which heavily features Memphis crime statistics in an article titled "American Murder Mystery."

    Janikowski said economic trends, such as the increase in gas prices, can impact the crime rate, particularly domestic violence.

    People feel financial pressure and some react with violence.

    But sometimes the numbers are skewed because of one crime, such as the Lester Street murders March 1. Jesse Dotson is accused of killing six people and injuring three, some of them family members.

    10 Worst Crime Cities

    In 2007, Memphis ranked second in violent crime per capita in cities of more than 500,000 people.

    1. Detroit: 2,286*

    2. Memphis: 1,950

    3. Baltimore: 1,631

    4. Nashville: 1,509

    5. Philadelphia: 1,475

    6. Milwaukee: 1,403

    7. Indianapolis: 1,234

    8. Houston: 1,132

    9. Boston: 1,155

    10. Dallas: 1,069

    * Number of violent crimes per 100,000 people.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.


    Here is the article referenced above. Well-worth the reading: