Review of Incident ‘Memos’ Casts Doubt on Crime Drop in Memphis


Memphis Police Department officials believe thousands of crimes over a five-year period were described in “memos” but never included in official crime statistics, reports the city’s Commercial Appeal. Police Director Toney Armstrong said MPD officials discovered 79,000 memos written by officers from January 2006 through July 2011, many of which could have been criminal reports or investigations. He said the discrepancy was “brought to my attention” after he took the job in April 2011.

Armstrong said officers can write memos when there isn’t enough information at the time of an initial investigation, but a review of the memos showed hundreds, possibly thousands, should have been upgraded. He said a sample of 20,000 memos from 2010 indicated that about one in every 15 should have been upgraded to a crime report, which would have then been included in crime statistics. The discovery could cast doubt on the crime-reduction numbers the department claimed under former police director Larry Godwin.

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