Memphis murder rate soars in 2014

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The numbers are in, and major violent crime is up in Shelby County. Murder rates have jumped the highest in both the city and the county.

The calls keep coming as week after week, police and sheriff's deputies respond to murder scenes. According to the numbers from Operation Safe Community, 2014 was an exceptionally bad year for major violent crime.

Here's a look at the numbers for Memphis. About 130 murders, 320 rapes, 6,900 aggravated assault calls, and 3,000 robberies. The most shocking is the murder rate, which is up 17 percent from last year. In fact, the only violent crime that dropped was rape.

"This is a war zone," Iris Johnson told WREG.

Johnson lives in Whitehaven where a teenager was shot in her neighborhood Tuesday. She was frustrated by late arrival by police.

"They will show up 45 minutes, an hour later. It's all over then. What good are they?" she said.

These statistics tracking crime are reported to the TBI every year. Ben Adams Serves as the chair of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission and he said, "Our number one job now has to be reducing violent crime and the perception of it. Clearly we need more resources and more efficient use of our sworn complement. We have strained our police, and they need help."

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong pointed to drops in property crime and domestic violence, and said it's because there are more officers on the street, but that doesn't make people like Johnson feel any safer.

"You can go downtown and check police records. This phone number is on their line all the time," she said.