(WMC-TV) - New statistics show that Memphis' 2011 murder rate is on track to be higher than last year, but Memphis police say those numbers don't tell the whole story.
Through Tuesday, Memphis police have worked 28 more homicide cases this year, compared to 2010. Though the murder rate is on the rise, Lt. Mark Miller, who runs the Memphis Police Department's Homicide Bureau, claims there is no rational explanation.
"Last year was a record low year," Miller said Tuesday. "We just got lucky and had a very low year. If you go back to 2009, we were at 123 for this date."
According to Miller, it's difficult, perhaps impossible, to prevent murder.
"Unfortunately, there's no way to predict homicides," he said. "It's one of those crimes you have to react to. You can't be proactive."
Of 2011's 118 homicides
- 24 are classified as justified killings
- 94 as are classified criminal homicides
- Only 15 of those are classified as random murders committed by a complete stranger.
For homicide investigators, the most important statistic is the solve-rate.
"Over the past couple of years we ended up at 90 or better," Miller said. "Right now we're sitting at 83 percent, so we're a little down. Hopefully, we'll be able to get that up by the end of the year."
A year on pace to surpass last, though Miller contends his job isn't about the numbers, but rather the people they represent.
The record is 213 homicides back in 1993. Memphis has not been close since.