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Officials say uptick in crime is unacceptable

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The City of Memphis is currently at a tie with its murder rate for this time last year.

Now, city and county leaders are calling the recent bump in crime unacceptable.

Violent and property crimes are up, and so is domestic violence and rape.

"We are not pleased with the latest crime stats," said Bill Gibbons, the president of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission.

He said he and city and county leaders are implementing new ways to fight back like the district attorney's community prosecution model now in the Tillman and Old Allen precincts.

"The crime stats in those two precincts look pretty good. What the DA's office is really doing, assigning prosecutors to those precincts to work directly with police officers and community," said Gibbons.

Mayor Jim Strickland wasn't available for an interview on the crime increase, but his staff emailed us a statement saying, "We continue our work in other areas, doing more for youth, strengthening economic development, reducing recidivism and fighting for stiffer sentences for violent crime."

Earlier this week, Strickland told WREG building MPD's police force is a top priority. He believes we are on track to have 2,300 officers by 2020.

"Hopefully in January when the fall class graduates, for the first time in six or seven years will have a net increase which is remarkable," said Strickland.

He said he also asked the Tennessee Highway Patrol to help MPD with staffing this summer.

Gibbons said change will come, but not overnight.

"I do think we can see some progress within the next year. I do think we can," said Gibbons.