Citizens concerned over rise in crime near 201 Poplar

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County deputies say ever since Memphis Police Department moved out of 201 Poplar, there has been an increase in crime in the area.

That's troubling news considering--whether you have to pay a ticket, bail someone out of jail, or work here--at some point, most Memphians will have to come to the building.

Officers want to make sure you're safe when you do.

Just last month, deputies say Thomas Barkley body slammed a news reporter and vandalized several cars outside the justice complex.

Now, District Attorney Amy Weirich says her office has been affected, sending a letter to Shelby County Sheriff's Office asking for better safety measures after three individuals in her office were assaulted, one while inside.

"We're very much concerned about the security issues around there and doing everything we can do about that," Cecil Book, assistant chief deputy with SCSO said.

Booker told Shelby County Commissioners that they have increased police patrols around the building, more police escorts are being offered, and new cameras have been installed.

In a statement to WMC Action News 5, Weirich said in part, "Safety for the members of this office and for all employees at 201 Poplar is crucial to the administration of justice each day."

Booker is also telling people to take safety in their own hands, encouraging people coming to 201 Poplar--especially in the early morning and evening hours where crime seems to be spiking the most--to walk in groups.

"Yes, ma'am. You should walk with somebody, yes ma'am. I will not walk by myself. No ma'am," Kattie Smith said.

Booker said he may need additional funds from the county to deal with the issue here. We should hear more on that within the next month.

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