Memphis has broken homicide record, new numbers show

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:54 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis has broken a record for something we are not proud of.   

Homicides in the Bluff City have reached over 352 as of Monday, according to numbers from the Memphis Police Department, breaking the previous record set in 2021.

Shootings and killings are leaving community leaders frustrated. They say it’s time to get to the real issues that drive violent crime in Memphis.

Families of homicide victims are also fed up and still searching for answers about why these pointless shootings keep happening in the Bluff City.

“State senators like Brent Taylor think they can say they think they can say, ‘Add a few more Tennessee state troopers.’ Well, Tennessee state patrol has conducted over 17,000 traffic stops since January and only made 12 felony arrests,” said Pastor Earl Fisher of Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church.

MPD says that so far this year, there have been 298 murders and 352 homicides, which include the two victims of Monday’s deadly shootings in North Memphis.

“[This is a] 42% increase in homicides from this time last year,” said Fisher. “That only tells part of the story. It doesn’t tell the story of gun laws that have been passed in Nashville by some of the people that govern places like Shelby County that are saying we are in a warzone. You helped manufacture the warzone.”

In 2021, there were 303 murders and 346 homicides.

Fisher said gun laws need to be changed in order to bring real change.

“Open carry in the state, it’s easier, especially for Black communities and Black children, to get access to guns and drugs than it is for them to get access to jobs that pay a livable wage or equitable educations,” said Fisher.

There are several reasons why people believe crime is up in Memphis.

Some cite mental health issues, while others say the poverty rate in Memphis is driving people to a survival mentally.

Either way, Fisher says state and local leaders need to be held accountable for gun crimes in the city.

“Show me where you have budgeted resources and invested them in places where we see too much crime and violence. If you can’t put your money where your mouth is, maybe it’s time to shut up,” said Fisher.

Action News 5 attempted to get answers from Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis, including MPD’s plan on preparing for next year and comments about the past few weekends in Memphis, but no one from MPD was available to offer any insight.

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