Fresh statistics from the FBI show the per capita murder rate in Memphis ranked 21st last year compared with other large U.S. cities, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. St. Louis topped the violent crimes list with 2,072 crimes per 100,000 residents, followed by Flint, Mi.; Oakland, and Detroit. Memphis was fifth.
University of Memphis criminologist Richard Janikowski said crime in Memphis is, overall, on the decline. Even though violent crime decreased 3 percent between January and May 2009 from the same period in 2008, domestic-violence-related aggravated assault is up, he said. Violent fights between family members and friends increased 13 percent this year over last, a trend Janikowski said could be blamed on the bad economy. “As the economy suffers more,” he said, “and as families are under stress  that results in increased tensions in families, which often explodes in domestic violence.”