‘It’s an organized thing’: Law enforcement analyst, local leaders weigh in on Memphis crime after chaotic weekend

Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 7:30 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Over the weekend, Memphis police responded to a slew of chaotic crimes.

Violence and thievery left a St. Jude employee dead, multiple gas stations robbed with nearly $10,000 in damages, a FedEx truck ransacked, and reckless drivers holding up traffic on I-240.

Action News 5 tried to talk with Memphis police, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

A spokesperson for MPD said no one in the entire police department was able to speak with us, but Action News 5 did run into Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy.

He said the lawless activity cannot be tolerated, and his office is working to hold criminals accountable.

“We’re fast-tracking all violent cases, trying to get speedier dispositions. We’re working to make sure it is harder to dismiss non-fatal shooting cases. I mean, the list goes on and on. I mean, there’s a lot of things we’re doing right now, but at the end of the day, no one office is going to solve this problem,” said Mulroy.

Mayor Strickland targeted the system as the reason for the onslaught of crimes.

“The police are not the problem. The police are arresting these individuals,” said the mayor. “The courts are not keeping them. That’s the number one problem.”

State Senator London Lamar of Memphis said fixing a problem like this starts at home.

“The government can’t fix everything. The police can’t fix everything. This is going to take the community coming together, the parent stepping up and putting their hands on their children and keeping them in the house and teaching them better discipline,” said Lamar.

So far, no charges have been filed in any of the weekend incidents we mentioned.

And sadly, security experts believe that during the holiday season, we are going to see more brazen acts from thieves.

”It’s not a random thing; it’s an organized thing. These guys are texting each other,” said Bennie Cobb, law enforcement analyst and owner of Eagle Eye Security.

Sunday, just before midnight, the Fill ‘N Go located at South Third near East Brooks Road was ransacked.

The police report states about 30 to 40 people in ski masks came inside and stole merchandise. One even pointed a gun at an employee.

”It’s homegrown and its local terrorism is what it is,” said Cobb.

On Saturday, just six miles down the road at Winchester and Airways, a group of thieves did the same thing. Cobb says criminals are bold, and it doesn’t matter if cameras are present.

”In their mind, it’s a game, it’s brazened, and the police can’t use deadly force, and they know that. They know that it’s now enough police to chase all of them. It’s just a thrill for them,” said Cobb.

He said for things to improve, laws need to be changed to hand out stiffer penalties. He said the best way to protect yourself is to ensure you are insured and vigilant.

“Business owners, citizens riding up and down the street, people going to events, it’s not a matter of if but when you will become a victim, and it’s going to continue until it phases out,” said Cobb.

Police are asking if you know anything about the recent flash mobs to contact CrimeStoppers at 528-CASH.

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