Skip to comments.MEMPHIS HOMICIDE RATE UP, CRIME UP THIRD YEAR IN A ROW
Posted on 01/02/2002 5:12:44 AM PST by GailA
Homicides up to 156 in '01 in 3rd year of city increases
County killings drop to 4, including two left in field
By Yolanda Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2001, 156 people were slain in Memphis, mostly in disputes between acquaintances or relatives or in killings that still baffle police.
That gave Memphis, with a a population of 650,100, a rate of 24 homicides per 100,000 people. According to the 2000 Census, Memphis ranks 18th in population.
Chicago, ranked third with 2.9 million citizens, had 659 homicides through late December, giving it a homicide rate of 22.7 per 100,000 people.
New York City, the nation's largest city with 8 million people, had 632 homicides through late December, giving it a rate of 7.9 per 100,000 people. Nationally, homicides increased sharply last year in many large cities.
In Memphis, with four more homicides last year compared with 2000, homicides over the last three years have gone up. In 1999, homicides stood at 141 and the year before that they stood at 115. There were a record 213 homicides in 1993.
In Shelby County, homicides dropped in 2001 with just four slayings, compared with five in 2000.
"A big percentage of the homicides (last) year in Memphis involved a dispute or argument where say someone lost their temper and just snapped," said Maj. Mike Quinn, head of the Memphis police Homicide Bureau.
These homicides were committed by "known suspects" and were quickly solved for a solution rate of 76 percent. Thirty-one slayings still have not been cleared.
These included the slaying of Alicia Fitch, 22, and her 3-year-old son, Joshua Hampton found stabbed to death in their Charjean area apartment at 2266 Candlewyck at Rivertown Square Sept. 10.
In the Fitch case, police are still chasing down old and new information.
And with this case and others, technology has played a big part in helping police to eventually catch a killer.
"In eight of the 31 unsolved murders, we are waiting on toxicology and DNA reports to come back from the TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) lab in Jackson to help shed some light on the investigation," said Lt. Joe Scott ofthe Homicide Bureau.
In the 21st Century, as with everything else, solving homicides involves technology.
"In addition to interviewing the witnesses where we have to figure out if it is nervousness or deception, we rely on evidence collection as much now as ever before," Quinn said.
He said they work closely with the Shelby County Medical Examiner's Offce, which analyzes evidence, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation lab in Jackson, Tenn.
Once a week, the 18 homicide investigators are on the road taking evidence to Jackson.
When the new TBI lab opens this month in Shelby County, police said this will help them tremendously.
"If a homicide is not a smoking gun where we know who did it immediately, it can take forever to solve it, but in the time we are going to save with a TBI lab being in our area it will help speed the process in each and every case," Quinn said.
In Memphis, domestic violence was the motive in 16 percent of the homicides last year. The rest involved drugs or alcohol, and about 4 percent were cases of negligence or recklessness. In some, no motive was found.
Twelve were ruled justifiable. Three of those involved police officers.
In 2001, 78 percent of homicides in the city were committed with handguns and about 30 percent involved knives or blunt objects and some physical force such as strangulation.
"Seventy percent has been the average on the type of weapons used in homicides over the last three years,"' Quinn said. "People have more access to handguns and in an argument they lose their temper and grab a gun. This is what we have seen this year and in the past.''
Quinn said the majority of homicides still are committed by an acquitance or relative, about 52 percent in 2000 and holding at about the same for 2001.
"We've had cases where someone snapped over something like a set of keys," he said.
Capt. Steve Crouch with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department said of the county's four homicides last year, domestic violence was the motive in two.
But the other two remain unsolved. In October, Nancy Alvis, 46, and Patricia Cook Thornton, 37, were found dead in a field in northwest Shelby County.
Alvis's body was found Oct. 22 by teens target-shooting in a field off U.S. 51. She had been stabbed. The next day about 30 feet from where Alvis was found, police found Thornton's body. She had been strangled.
Both women were wearing only shoes when they were found.
Both were regulars at Harpo's, a bar on U.S. 51. Their bodies were found less than a mile from the bar in a remote field. .
Detectives still are investigating their deaths and have not arrested anyone.
"Homicides are unpredictable," Crouch said. "It is hard to say, why one year they are up and the next year down."
What baffles police most are the ''cold mystery'' cases, where foul play is suspected, but no body has been found - like the Mickey Wright case.
Wright, a county code enforcement inspector, disappeared last April while out on a job. Police suspect foul play as they continue to investigate Wright's disappearance.
"You just keep plugging away on each case and start backward, because it is important for everyone involved," he said.
Yolanda Jones: 529-2380 January 2, 2002
"Homicides are unpredictable," Crouch said. "It is hard to say, why one year they are up and the next year down."
Apparently Mr. Couch has not read the BJS statistical reports, as the parent of a murdered child who has had to FIGHT FIVE parole hearings I've done my homework.
BTW the State because it is always broke from building golf courses, sports arenas, trips to Asia and Europe for the governor, and wild flowers in medians, is going to release my child's sociopathic killer next November after serving only 13.5 years of a 20 year plea bargain.
Each year the government releases to parole and probation hundreds of thousands of inmates. Guess what 62.5% of parolees go out and commit more crimes including more homicides. Mr. Couch did NOT mention that many of these folks committing these homicides probably had LONG criminal records.
The 1991 Tennessee Recidivism Report studied nearly 4,000 early released felons who went out and committed 1,469 new crimes, including 22 homicides within two years. The State is just as responsible for those 22 people being murdered as are those early released felons who killed them.
A 1991 parole and probation report from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 45% of State prisoners were persons who, at the time they committed their offense, were under conditional supervision in the community--either on probation or on parole. Probation and Parole Violators in State Prison, 1991: Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991 Click Here
Based on the offense that brought them to prison, the 162,000 probation violators committed at least 6,400 murders, 7,400 rapes, 10,400 assaults, and 17,000 robberies while under supervision in the community an average of 17 months. Based on the offense that brought parolees back to prison, these 156,000 offenders committed at least 6,800 murders, 5,500 rapes, 8,800 assaults, and 22,500 robberies while under supervision in the community an average of 13 months.
That's 13,200 homicides, 12,900 rapes, 19,200 assaults, and 39,500 robberies for a total of 84,800 violent crimes that would NOT have been committed if these UNREGISTERED, UNLICENSED, GOVERNMENT SUPERVISED felons had been in prison where they belonged.
People have more access to handguns and in an argument they lose their temper and grab a gun. This is what we have seen this year and in the past.'' What he doesn't say here is most of these are probably ILLEGAL handguns.
I had to jump through hoops to obtain my CCW permit. First I had to go through an instant background check including thumb prints to purchase my handgun, then I had to take an 8 hour safety course which cost me $65, then I had to make an appointment with the driver's license station, have both hands fingerprinted, give them $150 and every four years send them $50 to renew, be investigated by both the TBI and the FBI before the State would issue my CCW permit.
It is not responsible law abiding handgun owners who are committing these homicides, but those who have NO regard for either human life or the law.
Yes they are predictable.
Those governments with strict gun control have high homicide rates.
Those governments that allow an armed public have much lower homicide rates.
"I'll bet you 2 to 1 that the unsolved murders were committed by paroled felons."
oopps. Before the spelling police get me.... that would be the two mayors who are too cowardly.
Thank you for all your research and reports here on FR. Surely the killer of your child is not going to be released - is this a done deal or will letters and your efforts and those of others have a chance again to keep him locked up?
I have now resided in that University of Memphis area for a bit more than four years, and can now show you a half-dozen more such scenes, one involving a neighbor of mine and two in local business places. I also formerly worked in the Chicago area, and carried a handgun without benefit of paperwork or permit there, and it saved my bacon at least twice.
But I suggest that at least some of the deaths in Memphis are of criminals who picked on the wrong victim and were killed in the process, with the survivors having no faith in the law enforcement or judicial processes that would follow afterward- after all, the mayor's own bodyguard was caught handling drug payoff money, and the Memphis PD *organized crime bureau* that handled internal investigations was itself caught misappropriating funds to such an extent that it had to be disbanded- and all the internal investigations files for the last 15 years were shredded.
So figure that some of those Memphis bodies are those of criminals who picked on the wrong folks. Last year, at least, none of them were mine. We will see how 2002 goes.
When I saw the New Year's Eve stuff at Times Square on television this year, I thought, if GUILIANI could do what he did to Manhattan, WHY couldn't Herenton do it to Memphis? I was in Times Square and in the theater district and Madison Square Garden and lower Manhattan over ten, maybe twelve years ago, and I remember what it was like. I am sure it's not perfect now, but in MEMPHIS, you quite literally take your life into your hands if you just get on the interstate, betting your life that your car won't break down, leaving you at the mercy of the tens- and tens- of thousands of career criminals and gangbangers in Memphis.
Also, re the crime rate, I think that only one in ten crimes is reported to the police, and one in 100 ever gets into the local news. (To report crime would simply look racist and would reflect badly on the city, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. Bad for business BESIDES being politically incorrect. Hence, thousands of tourists come into town totally oblivious to the fact that theya re entering one of the most dangerous places on earth. As of a couple of years ago, my recollection is that Memphis has some of the most dangerous college campuses, most dangerous shopping centers, malls, etc., in the nation.)
In fact, the police force now serves as REPORT TAKERS. Not crime fighting. Not prevention. Not apprehension. Rather, they are an arm of the gov bureaucracy tracking crime statistics.
My daughter was at Walgreens 200 feet from the police precinct on Union a few months ago. She and her boyfriend were robbed at gunpoint literally on the STEPS of Walgreens. After visiting the precinct station, speaking to witnesses and Walgreens employees, my daughter determined that the cops knew the perps were hanging out at the Walgreens, in the parking lot, waiting for their marks. Apparently a regular thing. Walgreens doesn't even bother activating their surveilance cameras (though they have signs saying, "Parking lot under 24 hour surveillance" yadayada.)
The city of Memphis has CEDED parts of the city to the gangstas. Tacitly or implicitly, but it's true. There are places where the cops won't go in DAYLIGHT, much less after dark. A coworker of mine, about a year ago before my offices were moved east (not far east enough, but that's another story) had an auto accident on the way to work in the hood (Lamar/Getwell area.) His car was hit by someone driving a stolen car. The perp jumped from the stolen car and ran into a large adjacent apartment complex. 8 am, broad daylight, 100 witnesses. The COPS refused to go after the guy, and told my co-worker simply that they don't GO into that apartment complex. Not for ANY reason.
Memphis and crime in Memphis=BAD NEWS.
Memphis was reported to be THIRD in crime among all cities of 500,000 or more people. I think it was 10th among all cities, ranking high, of course, in violent crime and murder.
I will continue to try to find this study online.
Additionally, the C.A. reported today (online---I quit subscribing years ago, and the only time I see it is like Coach Cal said, when I run over it with my car) that Memphis and the other three largest Tennessee cities make up four of the top 12 in the nation for DUI deaths.
If you know the other screen names of Freepers in Mempho bump this to them, ok?
Yes, it is a done deal, he has maxed out his time. They REALLY wanted to let him out so they could supervise him for 2.5 yrs. BUT their pesky stats came back to haunt them. We bought an additional 2 years, with the final 6 months on parole supervision. We beat the odds and kept him there 13.5 out of 20, average is 5.5 years for 1st degree murder.
My heart goes out to the Wiley's.
Up the street is the apartment complex the cops won't go into in daylight. Next to the check cashing place where a young man came from some western city, age 25 or so, took a job as manager, and was shot to death the first week. Probably had no idea what he was getting himself into.
I moved to an office a few miles due east, on the edge of the city limit, at Winchester and Germantown, just east of the center of gang activity in the city, Hicory Hill. And the city is moving east bringing the same crap with it, and people just have to try to stay a step ahead of it. It is a JUNGLE.
There are no remaining excuses for the politicians and the law enforcement chiefs that they control. Are all the local arrest warrants being served (and early in the morning when most perps are fast asleep)? Are the police enforcing quality of life laws to give themselves an opportunity to search the people violating them for weapons? If someone is found with an illegal firearm are they being grilled as to how they got it? Are the police mapping crimes by the areas in which they are occuring and deploying their uniformed officers appropriately? Etc., etc, etc...
If you haven't already, I would suggest reading "Turnaround" by former NYPD commissioner Bratton as well as "Crimefighter" by his close advisor Jack Maple. The strategy is all there, only the political will needs to be added. Considering how things have changed here in NYC, and the difference is palpable, THERE ARE NO EXCUSES.