Memphis could break its record for homicides; MPD Director wants more community assistance

Watch: Memphis could break its record for homicides; MPD Director wants more community assistance

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis could break its record for the number of murders in a single year.

There have been 120 homicides in the city.

“Something is wrong,” said Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings. “And as I said, things have got to change.”

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Rallings demanded more community help to end the violence that has left 120 lives lost to homicide.

“And as I said, things have got to change,” Rallings said.

According to Rallings, nearly half of the victims in the murders knew the suspect.

“But there is absolutely nothing they can do when two parties know each other,” said Mike Collins, retired Shelby County Deputy. “The differences and it culminates into a homicide.”

This challenge is not new.

MPD data from 2016 which showed 37 percent of homicides victims knew their accused killers. Today that number is 44 percent.

Collins said getting witnesses to cooperate with investigators was a struggle then and it still is a struggle today.

“Without the community engaging in things that would prevent acts of violence, there is very little the director can do,” Collins said.

Collins added that the recent protests and cries for police reform weren’t helping to convince witnesses to come forward. He believed the MPD would have to build new and stronger relationships.

“One of the most important things is getting out there and engaging with that community that you say you want to protect and serve,” Collins said.

Rallings said he was committed to police reform but when pressed on that issue, he said the point of this news conference was to talk about the homicide numbers.