Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Whoever Wins Mayor's Race Will Look Better Next Year

Much has been said about crime in the Memphis metro area recently, particularly how it has been dubbed the #1 most dangerous area in the country. However, a few things most people seem to overlook are; the fact that those stats refer to last year (2006), and the idea that Memphis is the number 1 most dangerous CITY. The FBI doesn't say that. They say the multi-county, tri-state area is number 1. They haven't yet published the figures on the cities, but there is another source that has ranked cities - That's the sad thing about the FBI stats. They aren't released until October each year, and by that time, the information is stale. People want to know how we are doing now. That information is available from the MPD website, and it is impressive. isn't the FBI, but their numbers closely mirror the ones the FBI publishes. For instance, they show the Memphis metro area as second most dangerous. When ranking all cities (371 cities), Memphis ranks as the 13th most dangerous city, not number 1. That distinction goes to St. Louis, MO.

The Memphis Police Department has been doing the job under the very capable leadership of Larry Godwin. His "Blue Crush" iniative has been driving the criminals either to jail or out of the county. Hundreds of arrests have been made because of the severity of the crime problem. I have spoken of my "hot plate" approach to law enforcement, and this is what is being done with the MPD. We are making it uncomfortable for the thugs and the end result will be lower numbers this year.

Couple the Blue Crush operation with the new CyberWatch program and the Real Time Crime Center and all the other iniatives and you've got a solid plan of attack. Officers will be much more effective and efficient because of these tools and programs. The bottom line will be a major reduction in crime. That will make whoever is mayor look great next year. The missing piece of the puzzle is for the rest of the criminal justice system to get on board with our programs.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, the mayor would do well to keep director Godwin. He understands what it takes to get the job done, and his programs are working!


Anonymous said...

The FBi warns against comparing city crime stats as there are too many different factors to consider - such as the poverty rate which is quite high in Memphis but maybe not so much in Nashville. Factor in the fact that, despite NIBRS, not all cities report crimes the same and you have a skewed picture of the crime rates. Case in point - the NYPD does not take some burglary and theft reports unless you come down to the precinct to file it. HMMM... wonder how many of those incidents go unreported because the victim is unwilling to take the time to do that? As for Morgan Quitno - eventhe MPD disputes their results and has every year they come out. Their methodology is suspect - and their main focus is to sell books to Chambers of Commerce...

John Harvey said...

Even though the FBI cautions against making comparisons, they publish a list of cities. Gee, do you think they do that for a reason? Sure they do. The disclaimer is political. It gives the bad cities an out.

As for vs FBI statistics, as I said, they are close to each others ranking. Since that is true, I think the Morganquitno data is worthy of a look. Would you say their ranking is way off? I wouldn't. Morganquitno has us at number 2 most dangerous metro, and the FBI (for last year) at number 1. Where's the big descrepancy?

Benjamin Disraeli hit the nail on the head when he said, "there are lies, damn lies and statistics." However, I doubt many people would question the fact that Memphis is one of the most dangerous metro areas and cities in the US. They might question the ranking, but hey if you make the top 25, there is work to be done!

We can haggle over which city is what rank, or what metro area is, but the fact remains, Memphis needs to be out of the top 25. Director Godwin's programs, I believe, will ensure that happens. Too bad it will be next year before we find that out!