MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner on Wednesday updated county commissioners on rising crime statistics including auto theft and gangs.
He stressed collaborating with Memphis Police as part of the solution.
“Right now we’ve been receiving emails, calls, text messages about the crime and we’d like to hear your view about the crime we’re experiencing,” Commissioner Erika Sugarmon said.
The number of stolen automobiles is up sharply in Memphis and Shelby County this year, prompting the sheriff to make auto theft a top priority.
Sheriff Bonner, who is also running for Memphis mayor, said unincorporated Shelby County is on track to see 1,000 vehicles stolen this year.
WREG asked Memphis Police for the same statistic. So far this year in the city, there have been 5,540 stolen automobiles, compared to 2,108 at the same time last year. That’s an increase of more than 160%.
“We are addressing that right now,” Bonner told commissioners.
From stolen vehicles to an increase in gang activity, commissioners wanted to know how it’s being handled, especially in areas such as Raleigh.
“It’s hard when you got so many gangs popping every day, but how are we addressing that?” Commissioner Charlie Caswell asked.
“What the gang unit does is investigate all of these crimes or try to investigate all of these gangs, and try to dismantle them through arrests and information,” Bonner replied. “It’s a very daunting task.”
Bonner says one solution to the crime problem is working with Memphis Police Department. He says the collaboration kept people safe during the Beale Street Music Festival.
“We were down at the park, down on Riverside, and that was to free up some of the availability for MPD to put more resources towards Beale Street and surrounding areas,” Bonner said.
Bonner says right now the sheriff’s office has almost 600 deputies, which is much smaller than MPD, but he feels they’re doing a good job.