Every other day, it seems, the Normal Station resident who lives near the intersection of Highland and Southern hears about a robbery, burglary or an instance of assault. Though it comes up less frequently, the word ‘murder’ is too much a part of her regular vocabulary.
Duncan can’t just up and move, either. This is where she grew up. The University District – Normal Station – is all she’s ever known. There are sentimental strings keeping her here.
Therein lies the dilemma: Crime is, on some level, a part of the fabric in this city, in concentrated neighborhoods and the metro at large. But, as ostensibly dangerous as it is, it’s still home – and it’s hard for lifelong residents, like Duncan, to leave.
Weichert.com, a branch of Weichert Realtors, reported the University District in Memphis has a Crime Index Rating three times the national average.
The CIR is calculated by comparing the risk or probability of future occurrence of certain types of crime in this community as compared to the national average. The national average for each type of crime equals a score of 1.0; the total for the University District is 3.36.
The CIR provided by Weichert reported that the University District’s highest CIR numbers are rooted in personal robbery (4.55) and property burglary (4.0).
Tim Griggs, a former Shelby County Sheriff law enforcement officer who now lives in the University District on Carnes Avenue, said he was undaunted by the crime numbers in this concentrated area simply because he feels they are, by and large, representative of the whole city’s and even the country’s.
“Memphis is a metro, people forget, and crime happens in every metro,” Griggs said. “Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami – I can go on and on. For some reason, it’s magnified here. I don’t feel any less safe or endangered in Memphis than I would if I were anywhere else.”
Duncan, an orthopedic assistant with two children, said the numbers are harrowing but that, because she raised her kids in the neighborhood, she was too attached to the area – crime rates and all – to give much serious thought to leaving.
“It has its warts, and some days are worse than others, but I love Memphis, and I love my neighborhood,” Duncan said. “God willing, this is where I’ll continue to be.”