Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How Many?

Murder is the unlawful killing of a human person with malice aforethought. Murder is generally distinguished from other forms of homicide by the elements of malice aforethought and the lack of lawful justification. All jurisdictions, ancient and modern, consider it a most serious crime. Most jurisdictions impose a severe penalty for its commission. (source wikipedia)

From time to time, I look at what people are searching for when they hit my blog. Usually, they want to find out where the dangerous areas of Memphis are, or they are inquiring about gangs, or they may want to know how many murders we've had. I started looking at those numbers and found out something I thought was interesting. It has been widely reported that we've had 160 Murders in 2007, but after looking at the data, I find that simply isn't true. We've had 132 Murder/Manslaughters and the others have been coded as "Justifiable Homicide". I think this is a gross injustice to say we've had 160 murders when roughly 18% of those were cases that involved someone taking a lawful action, that resulted in a death. It's an unfortunate thing, to have to take someone else's life, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

So, let's start reporting the offenses as they are. We need to be breaking the Justifiable Homicides out of the total picture, because they are not Murder.
Here's the breakdown:
130 Murders/Non Negligent Manslaughter
002 Manslaughter by Negligence
028 Justifiable Homicides

160 Total

Here's a look at where the 132 Murders/Manslaughters have occured this year:


jccvi said...

What does this map say to you? I'm really curious if there is anything in it that is especially surprising to you. I notice a strong concentration in the area around Willow Road and Getwell. While I wouldn't have ever classified it as a safe area, seven homicides in one year seems high. Is that a factor of changing demographics or what?

John Harvey said...

As for where homicides occur, usually those occur in the areas where drugs and gangs are more prevalent. You could probably correlate educational levels with homicides as well as economic status.

Here is a closer look at the area you were referencing.

Anonymous said...

Just curious. If an LEO shoots and kills a human, does that count as a "homicide" in Memphis? I have not thought about this before but would bet that it would not be added to the list. So, why should the other 18% of justifiable shoots? I agree with you that it skews the numbers and makes it look worse than it is. The anti-guns crowd (aka, the Brady Bunch) would use those numbers to justify limiting the rights of law abiding citizens.

John Harvey said...

Anonymous said, "Just curious. If an LEO shoots and kills a human, does that count as a "homicide" in Memphis?"

Any death that is caused by another person is a homicide, whether they are a crack addict, a cop or a preacher. If an officer killed someone and didn't do so in self defense or defense of another, it would be a murder or something less, like voluntary manslaughter, involuntary, etc.

The cop shootings are usually ruled as justifiable homicides, which means the officer followed the rules, but had to kill the other person. We have what is known as a force level continuum which, basically says, the officer should always operate one level above the person they are interacting with.

If someone uses deadly force or possible deadly force against an officer, the officer should take action to make the offender cease and decist. Note that I didn't say the officer should kill the offender. When we shoot at someone, we shoot center-of-mass, in order to optomize the chances of stopping them, not to kill them. If they die, that's just one of those "oh well" things!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply. I guessed that would be the answer but I still think that the 'good shoots' should be separated from the murders.