MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Crime data released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) shows a changing trend in behaviors – major property crimes are on the rise and the number of violent crimes are going down.

Recent statistics show a decline in major violent crime during the first quarter of 2022 but it also shows an increase in the number of major property crimes during the same period. The full report is available at the end of this article.

Major violent crimes are defined for these purposes as murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery. Property crimes for these cases are defined as burglary, motor vehicle theft, and other felony thefts.

According to a report published by the University of Memphis, murders remained static in Memphis and dropped by about 6 percent countywide. While the number of aggravated assaults have increased in the past two years, there was an 11 percent drop in the city of Memphis and a 9 percent decrease in the county.

However, despite downward trends of violent crime, robbery went up by a staggering 29.9 percent both in Memphis and countywide. In addition, major property crime went up by nearly 7 percent in Memphis and 3.7 percent for the county.

The increase in property crimes was driven by the number of reported burglaries in Memphis and Shelby County. Memphis saw an increase of 23 percent while the county as a whole saw an increase of nearly 12 percent. The number of reported motor vehicle thefts (carjackings) in Memphis increased nearly 13 percent and 11 percent in Shelby County.

By comparison, the domestic violence decreased in Q1 2022 compared to this time last year. Domestic violence cases were down by 7.7 percent for the city and 8.5 percent for the county.

Overall crime stats show a increase of 3.6 percent for the city of Memphis and a 2.5 percent increase for Shelby County. On a positive note, the number of crimes involving firearms decreased in Memphis by 7.3 percent and 6.4 percent in the county.

Bill Gibbons is the Executive Director of the University of Memphis’ Public Safety Institute and President of the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission.

“We just don’t know whether these significant swings in decreases and increases in specific categories reflect new trends or a three-month aberration. It will be interesting to see what the second quarter shows,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons noted that the decrease in crimes involving firearms probably is attributable to the decline in reported aggravated assaults. He also noted that most reported aggravated assaults involve a firearm.

“We still have a long way to go. Our violent crime rate – and especially our level of gun violence – remains alarmingly higher than just a decade ago,” Gibbons said.

According to this report, first quarter crime data was delayed this year due to technical difficulties when sending the data from the Memphis Police Department to the TBI. The issues have been resolved as of the end of May.