Memphis restaurant owners seek solutions from city leaders amid rise in crime

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2023 at 6:23 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Beale Street Music Fest is set to kick off this weekend, drawing concern from the Memphis Restaurant Association on how elected leaders will address crime.

One East Memphis bar owner is taking a proactive approach to catch criminals after some Bluff City restaurants have been targets for gun violence, robberies, and carjackings.

“I put a live feed camera up, showing on a big screen TV on the wall of the parking lot,” said Randy Hicks, owner of Memphis Sports Pub, located in the Eastgate Shopping Center. “We had to do something to stem the flood of people leaving because they’re scared of getting broken into or getting their car stolen. So I was trying to mitigate that damage that was happening then.”

Hicks said the live feed was installed two months ago and has been a good deterrent while patrons enjoy a cocktail and some pub grub.

But he knows having an extra set of eyes won’t be the only solution to solving crime.

In an open letter to the city and county, the president of Memphis Restaurant Association expressed concerns about increasing safety measures.

“We the hospitality industry, the restaurant industry, we are ready to assist and support in any way that we can, but we need to know more about what’s going on,” said Mike Miller.

The association asks city leaders:

  • What specific actions are you taking to address the increase in violent crimes in our city?
  • How will you ensure that law enforcement agencies have the necessary resources to combat violent crime in our community?
  • How can residents and business owners of our city help support efforts to reduce violent crime?
  • What is the current staffing level of MPD, and what is the target number of officers?
  • What is the plan to achieve these staffing goals?
  • When businesses ask for help in additional policing, what should they expect in response?
  • What is the policy regarding GSW patients being released from treatment prior to police questioning?

“Commissioner Mick Wright responded to me both via text and sent an email this morning about a strategic plan that I guess has been in place since 2022, but they said that there’s a large portion of it that’s been unfulfilled today,” said Miller.

Memphis police say they are collaborating with law enforcement agencies across the county and state to ensure everyone’s safety for the busy Memphs in May weekend and beyond.

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