Hacks Cross crime still a concern for area residents

A violent armed robbery inside the McDonald's at Hacks Cross and Winchester is perhaps the most chilling evidence.  It's evidence of a crime spree this past Spring that had businesses on edge.

"If crime starts growing in our area, then my guests are going to go someplace else," says Hampton Inn manager Bob Cox.

He helped organize a series of meetings meant to organize merchants and curb crime.  A so-called Southwind Merchants Association is now fully active.  But Cox says some have lost interest.

"About 60 to 70 people for our first two meetings, now, unfortunately, it's dwindling a bit," says Cox.

Memphis police warn if the emphasis on keeping bad guys at bay weakens, the bad guys will come back.

"You can't get back to your normal routine," says Lt. Roderic Cunningham.  "Crime prevention is something you have to focus on everyday," he adds.

Lt. Cunningham partly credits Operation Blue Crush and increased patrols for the crime decline at Hacks Cross and Winchester.  But there's only so much they can do.  It will take the continued interest of merchants like Bob Cox to keep crime from rising again.

"You know, if we let our guard down, I think it probably will," says Cox.

He just hopes he never sees another violent crime so close to where he and many others work and live.