MPD: Violent crime, auto thefts increase in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  As concerns about crime and public safety remain top of mind for many in Memphis, police say there are glimmers of hope after reviewing the Third Quarter report on Violent Crime in the city.

Memphis Police Deputy Chief Joe Oakley and Chief CJ Davis broke down where things stand with violent crimes to city council members.

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“In the third quarter, we are up a little bit in violent crime,” Oakley said. “You can see we are up by 163, murders are up 17, and aggravated assaults are up around 140.”

Last year, there was a total of 1,314 reported violent crimes, and so far this year, 1,477.

There were 66 murders, 1,248 aggravated assaults, 3,422 auto thefts, and 2,497 thefts from motor vehicles last year. This year, we have had 83 murders, 1,394 aggravated assaults, 4,179 auto thefts, and 2,586 thefts from motor vehicles.

However, Memphis Police say that the number of interstate shootings is down.

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“Interstate shootings went above a little bit in September, but if you noticed in July and August, they did drop, and that’s because of our summer plan and fighting our crime with a specialized unit,” Oakley said.

The two main crime drivers are auto theft and theft from motor vehicles. Auto theft numbers are up by 700 from this time last year.

“We are seeing drops in both of these crimes, and I think it’s because of the Kia Hyundai situation and the thousands of steering wheel locks we’ve given away,” Oakley said.

The following are the top stolen vehicles within the city:

  1. Kia – 810

  2. Hyundai – 744

  3. Nissan – 568

  4. Infiniti – 463

Police say those stealing cars are as young as ten years old.

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“So, a significant number of our young people between the ages of 16 and 20 are committing most of our auto thefts,” Oakley said.

But police also say they have busted several chop shops and made several arrests.

As for high-profile crimes, they say several notable arrests have been made, including that of Malik Pigram in the Buster’s Liquor store smash and grab in August and the arrest of Kevin Young, an alleged gang member, for his role in the FedExForum shooting during the Lil Baby concert on September 7.

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“We started out in ’23 pretty high, as you can see, but it is continually dropping, especially with our Summer Plan, and we’re looking forward to seeing some lower numbers as we progress toward the end of the year,” Oakley said.

MPD emphasized during their city council presentation that some of their crime strategies are having an impact on reducing crime in the city.

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