Citing riverfront crime, MPD Director blames 'proliferation' of guns

MPD steps up to reduce riverfront crime

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department beefed up its presence on the riverfront after at least two frightening shootings along Riverside Drive in the past three weeks.

"This is certainly something that struck a nerve for people," City Council District 5 Representative Worth Morgan said.

MPD brass were called to the city council public safety committee Tuesday morning to explain what they're doing to keep Riverside Drive and Tom Lee Park safe on the weekends.

"We're just trying to figure out if there's anything legislatively we can do to try to decrease the amount of traffic flow, the amount of issues we've been having," City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd said.

MPD Director Michael Rallings said there are too many guns on the streets of Memphis. He also said keeping the riverfront safe isn't a job MPD can do alone.

"They're willing to allow us to change their shifts, to work overtime, we're using our reserves," Rallings said.

The director said crime at the riverfront is part of a larger issue and points to Tennessee's gun laws that allow weapons in cars and parks.

Rallings believes the laws make it easier for people who don't need guns to get their hands on them through thefts.

"This proliferation of guns, and the legislature still seeking to reduce the penalty for unlawful possession of a weapon, to me it's just unbelievable," Rallings said.

Memphis Police Department told council members they've made several changes such as adding cameras on Riverside Drive, bringing Beale Street mounted patrols to Tom Lee Park, using more plain clothes officers, making more traffic stops, and adjusting the times officers report for detail.

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