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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis’ homicide rate has shot up by 48% this year over last and Memphis Police Department leaders say they’re concerned.

According to MPD, 43 people have been in killed this year compared to 29 at this time last year.

“It’s concerning we’ve had a very busy month,” said Col. Kurt Philipps with MPD. “So month to date, we’re at five, compared to one this time last year. So it’s on an upward tick.”

Saturday night there were three murders across the city in a three-hour time period. Sunday there were 21 aggravated assaults in the span of 24 hours, Philipps said.

The sheer volume of calls their officers respond to is one of the hurdles the department is facing.

The department says of the cases they’ve solved, 78% of victims knew the suspect.

As for what could be causing the problem, Philipps said it’s tough to say.

There are more guns on the street and more guns being stolen out of vehicles, he said. There’s a culture of violence that he says needs to first be addressed in the home.

Some communities are doing what they can to curb crime.

In Whitehaven, the Watchful Eye Neighborhood Association makes it a priority to get to know their neighbors, encouraging other areas to do the same.

“We’ve tried to reach out to our neighbors on the fringes of this neighborhood to educate them regarding safety and security,” Ervin Harris said. “Everybody must work as a unit if we’re going to do anything about this crime. The police department cannot do it all, the security cameras cannot do it all.”

Looking ahead to the summer months, Philipps said different precincts will be looking at ways to address the violence in their specific areas.
He also encouraged people in the community to come forward to Crime Stoppers if they have information on a crime.