Violent crimes drop in Shelby County while property thefts on the rise, new data shows

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Violent crime went down in 2022, but major property crimes went up, according to the University of Memphis’ Public Safety Institute and the Shelby Crime Commission’s annual statistics.

The drop in violent crime was mostly attributed to a drop in aggravated assaults, which the data reports was down about 7% across both Memphis and Shelby County.

The commission said aggravated assaults account for about 80% of violent crimes.

The commission credited that drop to the Memphis Police Department’s Gun Crimes Unit, which it said looked into more than 1,200 cases during the second half of the year.

In spite of the numbers, some residents still feel unsafe due to the year’s high-profile violent crimes, like the murder of Eliza Fletcher or September’s spree killings.

“I definitely am more aware of my surroundings,” said Suzanne Brown of Midtown Memphis. “I used to kind of just brush it off when people from out of town would talk about Memphis. It has a reputation and I definitely have my guard up now.”

Overall, violent crimes, including murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults were down about 5% from 2021 to 2022 across the city and county.

Property crime, on the other hand, reportedly went up by nearly 30% compared to 2021, which the commission attributed in large part to an “alarming” rise in car thefts and the theft of guns from cars.

Around 2,000 guns were stolen from vehicles in 2021, compared to around 2,400 in 2022.