Police union: 43 homicides recorded in Memphis last month

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Association is calling July as one of the deadliest months in the city’s history.

Memphis police said the city set a record with 43 homicides last month. The previous record for a month was 29. Last July there were 15 recorded homicides, MPD saids.

Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams called the number astronomical.

“The highest number we have ever recorded was in 2017, where in one month we had 29 homicides. So for the month of July we had 43,” he said. “When you talk about a city of 660,000 people, that is what keeps propelling us to the second or third most violent city in the nation per capita.” 

Police Director Mike Rallings said the July 4th weekend was one of the most violent during the entire month, with four people being killed that weekend.

This time last year, Memphis had about 102 murders. This year the city has reported 154. The record of 228 homicides in a year was set in 2016.

“If we continue at the rate we are going now, we are gonna blow that out of the water,” Williams said.

The police union says officers are stretched thin, with an overload of cases.

Some officers are even taking to social media, with one asking for peace in Memphis, saying, “I’m sooooooo tired. This photo can’t begin to scratch the surface of what my last 31 days have been like.”

Williams says COVID, unemployment and even people being confined to closed spaces all lead to an increase in crime.

“It’s a lot of frustration and a lot of that is being acted out and played out on the street,” he said.

He says having more police, who are allowed to adequately police the street, and getting the community to report what they see are the keys to getting a handle on crime before it’s truly out of control.

Both Police Director Mike Rallings and Mayor Jim Strickland have recently expressed concern with Memphis’ homicide numbers, even speculating that this could be a record setting year.

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