Memphis January crime down 12%” screams the headline, which most readers never make it past. In case they do keep reading, there’s the reassuring sub-headline follow-up, “Aggravated assaults almost 20% below year-ago.” Still reading? The article reassuringly starts:

Crime in Memphis dropped dramatically in January compared to a year ago, and a police spokeswoman credits “aggressive policing and tracking the hot spots.”

All reported crime was down more than 12 percent from January 2006, and violent crime was down more than 20 percent.

Yes, while rape is marginally down (3.4%), real progress was made in robberies of individuals (28%), residential burglaries (10.6%) and larceny (13.2%). [I don’t think they included Shelby County politicians in that last one.]

Whew, good news! Right?

The devil is in the details:

  • Robbery of business up 3 percent.
  • Car theft up over 7 percent over January 2006.
  • Homicide up 27.3 percent.

So while the Auto Cargo Theft Task Force has been effectively busting chop shops, citizens are being gunned down in the streets in increasing numbers.

Not exactly something to crow about, is it?