Memphis sees nearly 20 more homicides in 2020 so far compared to 2019

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department released startling new numbers about the number of homicides this year.

Memphis has seen 18 more homicides this year compared to this time last year, and the year isn’t even half over.

So far in 2020, there have been 97 murders, compared to 79 this time last year.

“When I look at the news in the morning here in Memphis, and I’m sure it happens other places too, I call it the daily death report sometimes because we have so many people, virtually every day people are getting killed here,” South Memphis resident Edward Mayhue said.

Bill Gibbons, president of the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission, is undoubtedly frustrated with the stats, but while preventing murder is tough, he said he’s working with local leaders to improve policing across the board.

“When you look at violent crime, homicides or murders are really the toughest crime for law enforcement to get a handle on,” Gibbons said.

He said that’s usually because the victim and their attacker know each other. 

Gibbons made it clear the violent crime rate is too high, saying it’s a big challenge in the bluff city.

He said he does believe Memphis has policies in place as part of the Safe Community plan to address these issues. The Safe Community initiative ranges from hiring and retaining more police officers to improving public trust.

“Improve training to really emphasize the importance of things like de-escalation, use of force, so-called stop and frisk,” Gibbons said.

WREG asked Gibbons about how crucial it is to have good community policing.

“That’s why it’s important to hire the right kind of people to be officers who want to serve the community, who want to be out in the community, communicating with citizens,” Gibbons said. “That’s a very important part of it.”

Gibbons said he has been in contact with the sheriff and police director in the last few days to talk about the need to measure the progress they’re making.

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