MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Researchers with the University of Memphis Public Safety Institue and the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission released preliminary crime figures from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for January 2020 - September 2020 and compared it to previous years.
Figures show significant changes during the coronavirus pandemic between April and September compared to figures between January and March.
In the first quarter, major violent crime (reported murders, robberies, rapes, and aggravated assaults) dropped 4.3% in Memphis and 5.2% countywide compared to the first quarter in 2019. That decline was caused by a big decline in aggravated assaults and robberies.
During the coronavirus pandemic, major violent crime rates rose 17.6% in Memphis and 17.1% countywide compared to 2019.
According to the release, significant increases in murders (up an alarming 62.7% in Memphis and 55.1% countywide) and aggravated assaults (up 27.2% in Memphis and 26.6% throughout the county) cause the major violent crime rate to rise. This reversed the decline during the first quarter.
Officials added that murders and aggravated assaults often involve suspects and victims who know each other.
However, during the coronavirus months the rate of reported robberies, where victims are normally chosen at random, continued a three-year decline. Reported robberies were down 14.7% in Memphis and 15.5.% countywide.
Since 2016, the reported robbery rate plummeted 34.1% in Memphis and 59.8% since 2006.
Overall, major property crime was down 12.2% in Memphis and 11.7% countywide. The pandemic caused more people to be home during the day which could have caused a deterrent to possible burglarers.