New crime rate data provides interesting numbers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The number of car thefts in Shelby County are up nearly 60 percent in the first two months of the year compared to the same time last year, new crime stats revealed.

In the city alone, they're up 56 percent.

"Obviously, we hope that that`s just a bump in the road and that will reverse itself in the next month or so."

Bill Gibbons, the president of the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission said you can help reverse this trend by not leaving your cars unlocked or running.

"That can be an invitation for someone to jump in that car, steal it, and then maybe use it for other criminal purposes as well."

The numbers also suggest there's less violent crime this years in Memphis and Shelby County.

While crime overall has increased 7.6 percent in Memphis, major violent crime actually decreased almost 3 percent.

The Crime Commission uses the data in this recent study to help them determine the best way to combat crime. The just entered month three of their new, five-year crime plane, which Gibbons said takes a bold departure from the previous one.

"This plan is much more focused. We have 16 objectives or strategies instead of 62."

One of the biggest objectives?

Helping the Memphis Police Department address its shortage. Gibbons said the department lost 20 percent of its officers in the last five years.

"That has an impact in terms of the ability of the Memphis Police Department to have data-driven enforcement because they simply don`t have as many boots on the ground."