MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The murder rate in Memphis is moving in the wrong direction. Compared to 2010, 28 more people have been killed in the city so far as of October 18, 2011.
Administrators with the Memphis Police Department told abc24.com the reason the numbers seem so high is because Memphis homicides were near record lows in 2010, numbers the department hadn't seen since the 1970's.
The department said last year was an exception.
Lieutenant Mark Miller has been with MPD for 25 years and in the homicide division for 10. In the last decade, he's seen homicides steadily decline until this year.
"I'd love it to go down every year, but it's out of my control," Miller told abc24.com.
On October 18, 2011, the City of Memphis reached 118 homicides. The same time in 2010 there were 90.
"Of course we always want the numbers to be low," said Miller. "Last year was a record year, an abnormally low year. Go back to 2009, we're still below 2009's numbers."
Throwing out 2010's near record year Miller told abc24.com the homicide rate is still declining. The city has five less murders in 2011 compared to the same time 2009.
"We're not going to be as low as last year that was a record low, but we'll still be low compared to the five year average," said Miller.
Miller told abc24.com that new Police Director Toney Armstrong is giving the department as much support as it needs. Most homicide suspects are known by their victims. About 15-percent of homicides are by strangers.
MPD has one of the highest rates for solving homicides in the nation. The national average is below 70-percent. The city's solve rate is consistently in the 90-percent range.