Downtown Safety Plan: Under an agreement between the University and the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC), the PSI created a planning team to oversee development of this Downtown Safety Plan. The full plan can be found here.

The Domestic Violence Coordinated Community Response Strategic Plan was developed with input from some 50 key stakeholders involved in addressing domestic violence. This effort would not have been possible without grant support from the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs, for which we are very grateful. Download and read the Stategic Plan


Perspectives on Why Individuals Continue to Engage in Violent Crime in Memphis-Shelby County

Earlier this year, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner approached me about the need to know more about what drives some individuals to engage in persistent violent behavior. The outgrowth of that discussion was a grant from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to the University of Memphis to conduct research to help determine what the drivers are behind persistent violent offenders and what might be done to decrease violent crime in the future, based on those offenders’ experiences. Read full evaluation

A Limited Evaluation of the Shelby County Mental Health Court

In response to an August 2018 solicitation from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TNDMHSAS), in partnership with the Tennessee Association of Recovery Court Professionals (TARCP), the Shelby County Mental Health Court (MHC)  partnered with the University of Memphis Public Safety Institute (PSI) to develop an evaluation proposal. The proposal was funded and the project began Oct. 1, 2018. Although the project period was initially to be 12 months, we requested and received a six-month extension due to difficulty in obtaining some of the necessary data. Just before the final report was due, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and we were forced to request another extension. This report provides details of the quantitative and qualitative methods used in the evaluation, analysis and results, as well as some conclusions and recommendations. Full Evaluation


IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Domestic Violence Survivors' Experiences with Memphis and Shelby County Resources

It is generally accepted within criminology that victims who are dissatisfied with their experiences with the criminal justice system will be less likely to participate if they are victimized again. Family justice centers (FJCs) provide survivors of domestic violence and their families with social services and support related to temporary and long-term housing, protection orders, custody of minor children and assistance with other legal proceedings. If survivors are satisfied with their experiences at an FJC, revictimization may be less likely and programs may be considered successful. As a measure of program success, then, it is important to gauge survivor satisfaction with services. As part of a state-funded evaluation, focus groups were conducted with survivors of domestic violence, including survivors serviced by the local FJC. This brief provides preliminary findings from the first series of focus groups and  identifies common themes of survivor satisfaction, as well as areas for improvement for law enforcement, service agencies and the court system. Read the Brief


Shelby County Sheriff's Data Driven Deployment Assessment 2023

Throughout the history of policing, electronic data use has increased as use of technology has become more common. Computer use by police departments was first implemented in the St. Louis Police Department in the mid-1960s (Colton, 1979). The beginnings of wide-spread technology use by law enforcement can be traced to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Northrop, Kraemer, & King, 1995). This led to the creation of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), which contributed approximately $50 million to law enforcement agencies to enable them to access police technology (Northrop et al., 1995). Surveys conducted in the early and mid-1970s showed that implementation of police technology was slower than anticipated (Colton, 1979). Download the Assessment

Assessment Of Data-Driven Deployment By The Memphis Police Department

Data-driven policing has been a priority for the Memphis Police Department (MPD) for over ten years. The initial Safe Community Plan (2007 – 2011), called for expansion of MPD’s data-driven ability by updating the technology used and increasing its personnel. The next two Safe Community Plans (2012-2016 and 2017-2021) reiterated the importance of a data-driven approach to MPD’s use of resources. Download Full Assessment

The Impact of Swift, Certain and Proportionate Sanctions for Probation and Parole Violators in Shelby County, Tennessee*

* This work was funded through the University of Memphis Foundation by a grant from an anonymous source
Executive Summary: This research was done as part of Memphis Shelby Crime Commission's third five-year "Safe Community Plan" to "effectively implement the state's new system of 'swift, certain, and fair' administrative sanctions in lieu of incarceration for violating certain conditions of probation or parole." The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) led implementation of this Safe Community Plan objective, and the Public Safety Institute (PSI) at the University of Memphis conducted an independent evaluation of the policy's impact in Shelby County. Full Assessment

Neighborhood Safety Initiative Assessment Summer 2021

At the suggestion of the Memphis Police Department (MPD), the NSI effort has focused on the Austin Peay and Tillman MPD precincts. The objective of this assessment is to determine whether NSI is meeting the objectives outlined in the Safe Community Plan. Download the assessment.

Gang Injunction Interim Assessment for 2020

This research interim assessment is designed to look at the effectiveness of safety zone injunctions. This assessment seeks to address three research questions: (1) Do injunctions reduce the number of violent offenses in the safety zone areas?, (2) Do gang injunctions reduce arrests of individuals subject to the injunctions? and (3) Do police officers working in precincts with safety zones know about the injunctions and prohibited behaviors? Read the full Report

PSI Assessment of SafeWays

SafeWays is a Memphis-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that helps Shelby County apartment owners and managers of apartment communities reduce crime and improve quality of life for their residents. Read the complete assessment

Data-Driven Deployment by the Memphis Police Department in 2018

Last year, the PSI conducted an assessment to determine whether, during calendar year 2017 (see assessment below), the Memphis Police Department's commitment to data-driven deployment of resources by identifying crime hot spots in each precinct on a weekly basis had an impact on crime patterns. That assessment indicated a consistent short-term positive impact. The PSI decided to conduct a similar assessment for calendar year 2018 to determine if there was a consistency in results from year to year. This assessment covers 2018 and seeks to determine the impact of the Memphis Police Department's continued commitment to weekly identification of crime hot spots at the precinct level. Download the Full Report

Fed-Up Media Campaign Analysis Spring 2020

In 2016, the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission spearheaded development of a five-year community-wide Safe Community Plan (the third such plan). In an agreement between the Crime Commission and the University, the PSI is charged with assessing and evaluating various parts of the plan as they are implemented, both in terms of processes and outcomes. Full Assessment

Assessment of Neighborhood Safety Initiative in Designated Geographic Areas of Memphis

This interim assessment/report looks at the different components of the NSI, the processes involved and some of the outcomes. It contains both conclusions and recommendations going forward. Download the Assessment

Interim Assessment of Gang Injunctions and Safety Zones in Memphis

This research interim assessment is designed to look at the effectiveness of safety zone injunctions. This assessment seeks to address three research questions: (1) Do injunctions reduce the number of violent offenses in the safety zone areas?, (2) Do gang injunctions reduce arrests of individuals subject to the injunctions? and (3) Do police officers working in precincts with safety zones know about the injunctions and prohibited behaviors? Read the full PDF 

Data-Driven Deployment by the Memphis Police Department in 2017

This assessment deals with a key objective of the Operation: Safe Community five-year plan — data-driven deployment of law enforcement resources, in this case by the Memphis Police Department. Download PDF of the Assessment


Community Prosecution Report (Spring 2021)
According to the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, community prosecution (CP) programs "[encourage] collaboration between prosecutors, criminal justice partners and the community to create safer neighborhoods" (Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, n.d.). This model specifically introduces a community-centered approach to identifying key problems in neighborhoods and determining how to best respond to and mitigate these problems. Download the full report in PDF format

Executive Summary
Memphis, Tennessee has consistently high levels of violent crime, with domestic violence (DV) being one of the most serious problems facing the community. Unlike other forms of violence, however, DV includes multiple forms of aggression and can be more pervasive than just physical assaults. While DV can include any violence between individuals related by blood or marriage, in this context it focuses on the physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and other forms of violence specifically between and by romantic and marital partners. In addition, domestic intimate partner violence is not correlated with any demographic variables and knows no racial, ethnic, gender, age, or income bounds. Read the Executive Summary. The full report can be found at this link.

Homicide, Domestic Violence, Youth & Guns in Memphis
This presentation results from various research conducted at the request of various agencies and for program development and implementation. Download: PowerPoint | PDF


At the request of various public agencies, Drs. James McCutcheon, Bert Burraston, Amaia Ratzoqui, and Angela Madden of the University of Memphis Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice have been leaders in conducting research on homicides in Memphis. ( Dr. Madden serves as Research Associate Professor for the Public Safety Institute.) Their research provides insight into certain "predictors" of neighborhood homicides, including the impact of geographic location, a history of domestic violence, residential mobility, educational level, and age. CLICK HERE for more detailed results of their research.