Business owners meet again to discuss crime

Frustrated business owners packed a meeting with top Memphis and Shelby County law enforcement officials Wednesday morning, asking what they could do to curb a spike in crime near Winchester Road and Hacks Cross.

"What do we do as a group to make sure that we are taken care of and that things are being followed up on?" one unidentified business owner asked.

The answer was simple - get organized.

"I just want you to know I accept the responsibility for the crime," said Larry Godwin, Director of the Memphis Police Department. "I accept the responsibility for fixing it, but we really do need your help."

Likewise, Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell told citizens to form an association, patterned after successful neighborhood watch groups. "We can help you organize," he said. "We have, in our crime prevention bureau at the Sheriff's Office we have, I call it a smorgasbord of programs."

Luttrell also suggested that businesses put pressure on political leaders to make sure Police and Sheriff's Deputies get the resources they need to battle crime. Business owners seemed willing to do that.

"I feel like it's going to take a lot on our part to really get this going," said Adam Hill, who owns a business in the area. "They've got a lot on their plates, and we have to take it on as a community and get involved and make sure that we stay aware of what's going on."

Police Director Larry Godwin directed business owners to resources within the Police Department, including the Business Watch Program. He also pointed to the Blue Crush program, which he said is working, and asked attendees at the meeting for patience.