Atlantic Monthly piece on Memphis one of 'America's Best Crime Stories'

An eye-opening Memphis-framed magazine article about rising crime in midsize cities has been included in a new anthology of outstanding crime reporting.

Hanna Rosin's "American Murder Mystery," published in the July/August 2008 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, focused on the research of Memphis criminologists Richard Janikowski and wife Phyllis Betts, who tracked a correlation between shifting patterns of crime and the movement of former inner-city residents using federal housing vouchers. Rosin's nut graf:

Memphis has always been associated with some amount of violence. But why has Elvis's hometown turned into America's new South Bronx? [Memphis Police Lt. Doug] Barnes thinks he knows one big part of the answer, as does the city's chief of police. A handful of local criminologists and social scientists think they can explain it, too. But it's a dismal answer, one that city leaders have made clear they don't want to hear. It's an answer that offers up racial stereotypes to fearful whites in a city trying to move beyond racial tensions. Ultimately, it reaches beyond crime and implicates one of the most ambitious antipoverty programs of recent decades.

The anthology, "Best American Crime Stories," includes 15 pieces and was edited by Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker.


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  • About Links to Memphis

Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.