Police say murder rate slowing in Memphis

Jasmine Love has lived in North Memphis all of her life.  She says killings are a common occurrence up and down the streets in her neighborhood.  Love and her mother don't even like to watch the news anymore.

"Because mostly everyday that's what you see on there," Love said.  "Somebody done got killed."

Nearly 120 murders in Memphis so far this year is definitely not good news, but Memphis Police says things could be worse.  In fact, things were worse this time last year.

"We've stemmed the tide, if you may say," said Sgt. Vince Higgins, spokesperson for the Memphis Police Department.

In April of this year, police say there were 53% more murders than the same time in 2005.  Four months later, at the end of August, the rate of increase was 14%.  People are still getting killed, but police say that is an improvement.

"We're still up, but the rate of increase has decreased," says Higgins.  "That's a good thing," he adds.

Police cite "Operation: Blue Crush" and the new Felony Assault Unit for helping control crime.

"When aggravated assaults occur, they could end up being homicides," says Higgins.

In other words, he says they're getting people who may be on a path to committing murder off the streets before they kill.  Love and her mother say they're glad to hear it at a time when they feel things couldn't get much worse.

Police say they don't want to get over-confident.  But, they hope this trend continues and that the number of murders in Memphis this year will not surpass last year's total of 153.