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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Reported Gun Crimes Down Significantly During First Half of Year

Reported crimes with guns were down significantly during the first half of this year compared to last year in the city of Memphis and unincorporated parts of Shelby County, according to figures from the Project Safe Neighborhoods G.U.N. (Government United for Non-Violence) Unit.

From January through the end of June, there were 2,405 reported crimes with guns compared to 2,840 for the same period in 2017 – a 15.3 percent drop. The number is also 8.4 percent less than the 2,625 reported gun crimes in 2016.

Reducing gun crimes is a major focus of the current Operation: Safe Community crime plan, the development of which was spearheaded by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. Crime Commission president Bill Gibbons noted a number of objectives in the plan geared toward gun crime reduction, including:

- Vigorous enforcement of tough federal gun laws as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods which is being led by the U.S. Attorney’s office;

- Enactment of tougher state sentences for felons in possession of firearms – which was accomplished in 2017 – coupled with strong enforcement by the District Attorney’s office;

- With the goal of changing behavior, communicating the consequences of committing gun crimes through the FED UP media campaign;

- Enhancing the staff of the Multi-Agency Gang Unit in order to more effectively investigate gang-related crimes and prevent such crimes from occurring; and

- Ramped up data-driven deployment of law enforcement resources.

Since in office, U.S. Attorney Mike Dunavant has made prosecution of gun crimes in the federal system a top priority.

According to Dunavant, "Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a proven violent crime reduction strategy that works, and is now reinvigorated with additional resources and commitment from our partners at the ATF, Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office. Since October, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has increased the number of federal firearms cases filed by over 59%, and the number of defendants charged with firearms offenses has increased over 73%. These efforts provide targeted prosecution of the worst-of-the-worst offenders in order to enhance public safety in Memphis by removing guns from the hands of dangerous people, and removing violent offenders from our communities."

Dunavant added, "These sustained decreases in reported gun crimes and all major violent crime categories is encouraging, and shows that our return to proven enforcement policies is working. Putting the right people in prison upholds the rule of law, deters criminal conduct with a strong message of significant consequences, and makes us all safer. The Department of Justice is open for business, and we are FED UP with gun crime in Memphis. Gun Crime is Max Time."

The reduction in reported crimes with guns is consistent with the reduction in reported violent crimes, the details of which were released earlier this month.

During the first half of this year, reported violent crimes were down 8.1 percent in the city of Memphis compared to last year and down 6.4 percent countywide, according to preliminary figures from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The reduction occurred in all four major categories – murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.

Number of Reported Gun Crimes in Memphis and Unincorporated Shelby County


1 Reported gun crime incidents in city of Memphis and unincorporated parts of Shelby County.
Source: Project Safe Neighborhoods G.U.N. Unit

2 A 8.4 percent decrease compared to 2016 and a 15.3 percent decrease compared to 2017.

Updated July 31, 2018