"I'll tell you flat out--it is a concern," says Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin.
It isn't every day that Godwin holds a news conference. And he'd rather not hold one on the subject of a record-breaking murder rate.
"What concerns me is a picture is being painted of this fine city that is not the way it is," says Godwin.
But the numbers don't lie. There were 23 murders in the month of July. That beats the old record of 22 killings from July 1993. That brings to total number of murders in Memphis this year to 89. And there are still five months to go.
"I can assure you we're working on it," says Godwin.
Police have been working a lot in recent weeks. From robbery-related killings in Binghampton to deadly arguments near Graceland and in Raleigh. That's where innocent bystanders were caught in the crossfire. Police say that is unusual.
"Over 70 percent of homicides that have occurred thus far--the victim has known their assailant," says Godwin.
A large number of those are the result of domestic violence. Many more Memphis murders are gang and/or drug-related.
"I question everyday--are we doing everything we can possibly do to stop this foolishness?" asks Godwin.