Thursday, July 06, 2006

County Crime up more than in the City

I received an email today detailing the fact that part I crimes in Shelby County (outside the city and not including the jail) are significantly higher than they were for the first six months of last year. From all the press coverage about crime in Memphis, you would think it was only a problem with Memphis.

For Mark Luttrell and those in Rio Linda, Part I crimes are the more serious crimes like Murder, Rape, Robbery, etc. Shelby County has had an increase in Part I crimes of 17% while the city of Memphis has had less than 4%.

Shelby County 2005 1679
Shelby County 2006 1962
Increase 283 (16.9%)

Why are the numbers so skewed for crime in Shelby County? I believe it is directly related to the current Sheriff's policy of Cut, Downsize and Outsource.

Selling off all the "extra" cars and radios so that you can't fully equip the reserves or other officers, who are more than willing to work, doesn't interdict crime. Cutting the Fugitive Bureau by 20 officers and running units like Narcotics and Gang with fewer than 15 officers is partly responsible for this. More officers are needed and probably since these units have shrunk to such dangerously low numbers (Fugitive once had 100 officers as did Narcotics) they can't be expected to be effective. If the Sheriff really wants to maximize effectiveness, he should request 100 more officers and merge the gang,fugitive and narcotics bureaus. Then he would have enough officers to take the streets back - and unless I miss my guess - the citizens of Shelby County would be more than willing to pay for it.

In the first week of June, I'm told the Sheriff's Office sent officers up to Middleton, TN to work on a traffic grant and wound up having to send regular officers home becuase there weren't any cars for them to drive. That means the citizens (taxpayers) of Shelby County were not being protected because some of the patrol districts were left without a patrol car. Of course, this was relayed to me by a deputy who doesn't have his time in, so he has to remain in stealth mode.

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