Memphis Police Director: Murders are up 50 percent compared to last year

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings shared grim numbers to the city council on Tuesday. Murders are up 50% this year compared to last year.

So far this year, there have been 220 murders in Memphis. The city’s 247 homicides, a slightly different statistic than murder, is a record.

Related: ‘Grim milestone’: Memphis Police director addresses city’s record number of homicides

In a presentation to city council members on Tuesday, Rallings talked about what is driving the crime: gangs, drugs, domestic violence and guns.

Gang violence is blamed for 58% of the city’s homicides. In about 80% of the cases, the victim knew their attacker. 

“It’s very difficult for us to protect people from people that they know, that they hang out with especially when they hang out with violent people in violent places,” Rallings said.

To date, 28 children have died violently. “The number of children killed this year is alarming,” Rallings said.

There have been 63 interstate shootings so far this year in Memphis, 41 since Memorial Day.

Related: Shooting at I-240, Lamar marks 61st interstate shooting this year

A slide from Tuesday’s presentation shows murders up 50% in Memphis.

Earlier this month he sent a letter to clergy saying, as we re-imagine policing, it is important to intervene in people’s lives early. He said a key age range to focus on is 18 to 33.

As far as investigating homicides, Col. Darren Goods, a commander of the Investigative Services team, said they are not only working with outside federal agencies to help solve homicides but prevent future ones. 

Additionally, Rallings said hundreds of employees that have either been quarantined or tested positive with COVID. He said they have been severely impacted on a department that is grossly understaffed.

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