Because residents in Memphis’ Germantown suburb were unaccustomed to crime, an intruder easily gained access to about two dozen homes over several months, notes the the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “The ironic thing is, I don’t believe he has done any ‘breaking,’ ” said Dan Pallme, a member of the Germantown Public Safety Commission. “He’s been entering through unlocked doors and windows.” Pallme believes that many suburbanites don’t realize that crime problems prevalent in Memphis and other big cities can affect their communities. Many in the suburbs have looked on Memphis as a hotbed of criminal activity. In reality, recent data offer a mixed bag of results about Memphis crime trends. Memphis showed more improvement last year in reducing murders, rapes and car thefts than other similar-sized cities around the country. Memphis was less effective than its peer cities in reducing robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, and larceny.
Crime trends tend to follow population trends. As the population in suburban areas around Memphis continues to grow, so will problems with crime. Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons believes major commercial developments such as a new mall planned for Collierville will likely lead to an increase in crimes such as auto burglaries and carjackings. “I think it’s safe to say crime problems are not limited to the city of Memphis,” he said. “It is spreading more and more to outlying areas. We are seeing evidence of gang activity in places such as Germantown.”