Once again, Memphis has been labeled as one of the most dangerous U.S. cities, according to U.S. News & World Report LP.
Memphis received an index score of 361 following an analysis of FBI violent and property crime reporting data by Onboard Informatics. A score of 100 would mean a city’s crime risk is equal to the national average.
But from January 2010 to the end of December 2010, major violent crime was down 23.6 percent across Memphis – including a drop in murder by 40 percent and a drop in aggravated assault by 13.5 percent – when compared to the same time period in 2006, according to Operation: Safe Community.
Major property crime was down 26.2 percent, including a drop in burglary by 21.4 percent and a drop in motor vehicle theft by 42.1 percent.
And let’s not forget that executives with Electrolux chose Memphis to build a 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant over Mexico – the main reason being crime. Mark Herbison, the Greater Memphis Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development, recently spoke to the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors about closing the sale:
“It was headed to Mexico, the decision had already been made, but they had changed their mind in the summer and they wanted to stop and take a look at North America – Memphis, Alabama and North Carolina,” Herbison said. “Electrolux was in the county of Juarez, which had about 3,200 murders last year, and I don’t know the details, but I think some of those were employees.”
Herbison went on to say that in his experience as being a sales person for the city, where we fall apart is when the prospect actually comes to town and talks to Memphians about their city.
“One if the things that’s amazed me the most about Memphis is the lack of self-esteem,” he said. “We have so much to be proud of here – having been a person that’s recruited industry for several years to Nashville – this can’t hold a candle to what we offer from the perspective of distribution, capabilities, low cost, product, it’s just a really impressive story. If we could ever get this perception changed and get people proud of our city again, which we’re working toward, I think that we’ve got a lot more to offer than most other cities.”
“When you get a couple of miles away from here, there’s not a real negative attitude about our city, there’s really a neutral attitude – they don’t know a lot about it, they know it’s associated with Elvis and food and barbecue. But when we’re able to talk about the great rail, the airport, the river, right now the available labor because of the high unemployment rates, some of the initiatives with the new leadership we’ve got going on, people get excited about it.”