MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - With 80 homicides so far in 2017 and a record-breaking homicide rate in 2016, law enforcement officers and civilians want an answer to the high violent crime rate.
"Having the proper staffing is critical," Memphis Police Department Director Mike Rallings said.
Rallings makes it clear that more boots on the ground will likely mean a lower overall crime rate.
"Without a doubt, I go back to 2011," Rallings said. "We had 2,500 officers, and we saw that in the years that led to us getting to that goal and after, violent crime continued to go down."
Currently, the department has 1,945 officers.
"The mayor has committed to a budget of 2,300, so that's what we're striving to do," Rallings said.
Memphis Shelby Crime Commission released new crime stats this week.
Their statistics show through April, the murder rate in both the city and Shelby County is the same as the first four months of last year--60 homicides.
However, they said the overall major violent crime rate is up by four percent compared to last year. That includes murders, rapes, and robberies.
"We've got the biggest recruit class we've had in five year, so I think we're on an upswing," Rallings said.
Katina Rounds, the mother of the IHOP Good Samaritan shooting victim, agrees more police could mean less crime.
Her son Devin Wilson was shot and killed last weekend as he tried to save someone's life. At this time, no one has been charged in that case.
"I have confidence that they're doing what they need to do," Rounds said.
Rallings said right now, they have 104 recruits in their current class.