Midtown neighborhood sees uptick in crime, long-time resident hopes for change

Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One Midtown neighborhood is seeing an unusual uptick in crime.

“I was just sitting in my study and saw blue lights go by through the window,” said Barry Anderson, a man who’s lived in the Vollintine-Evergreen Historic District for over 20 years. “Naturally, I went outside to see what was going on.”

The commotion Anderson witnessed earlier in July was confirmed by Memphis police as a homicide on Hawthorne Street.

“In our neighborhood, which is a pretty peaceful street, we’ve had a number of break-ins and issues that have increased in recent years and especially in recent months,” Anderson said.

According to the Memphis Crime Map, the Evergreen-Vollintine Historic District has had a 50 percent increase in serious crimes this year.

The data shows at least 15 crimes happened within a half-mile radius of Anderson’s home last year.

This year, for that same period of time, at least 23 crimes were reported.

Anderson said his family, like many others, has been affected by this change.

“Someone came the other day and crawled under (the car) and took off the catalytic converter,” he said.

Anderson says, while inconvenient, he’s lucky there wasn’t a death in this incident. He says his heart goes out to all families in Memphis that have not been so blessed.

Just last week, a well-known Mid-South pastor was murdered in her driveway as teens stole her car. Her husband, who wants the suspects tried as adults, lamented, “They took my best friend away from me, and I can never get her back.”

Anderson says he understands how impactful a loss can be.

“Especially someone who was very important to family. You’ve got a spouse, children. It’s very tragic to have this type of event in your life,” he said.

Anderson, like so many other Memphians, is hoping for change.

“Hopefully, the leaders of the city and the leaders of the police department will find solutions that are workable,” Anderson said. “And hopefully, the people committing these crimes will find a way to live without doing this to each other.”

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