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'When you go on a vacation, you want to be relaxed' | Here's what tourists have to say about recent crime in Downtown Memphis

“When we arrived at the hotel, the attendant at the desk told us to watch for crime and to watch if there’s gun fires and things,” Joseph McNulty said.
Credit: WATN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After weeks of increased crimes and violence in Downtown Memphis, this past weekend was peaceful by comparison. 

This weekend comes after the city implemented its new downtown safety plan. Those who visited the area over the weekend might have noticed an increased law enforcement presence.

Tourists in the city said they did consider the crime when it came to planning trips to Memphis. Beale Street, for instance, continues to be a popular stop for many Memphis tourists. 

“The lights come alive at nighttime — It’s absolutely fantastic,” said Joseph McNulty, an Ireland resident.

Over the past months, the nights have attracted a heavy police presence after several shootings near Beale Street and Main Street.  Tourists said while visiting the city, they have been warned about crime

“My relatives actually did mention that we need to be very cautious when we’re on Beale Street,” said Mary Shands, a tourists from Dallas, Texas.

“When we arrived at the hotel, the attendant at the desk told us to watch for crime and to watch if there’s gun fires and things,” McNulty said.

In response to recent crime in the area, the City of Memphis and the Downtown Memphis Commission implemented a new downtown safety plan, which includes a larger law enforcement presence from both Memphis police and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. 

“We’ve seen a lot of police cars and people wearing bulletproof vests,” McNulty said.

Shands noticed right away.

"There was a police presence right there at the entrance — two or three cars," Shands said. "I was like, ‘Whew, they’re serious.’ It’s concerning. When you go on a vacation, you want to be relaxed — let your guard down.”

While guards have been up, Memphis Data Hub shows crime — specifically in the Downtown area — has actually gone down over time. 

Jerred Price, Downtown Neighborhood Association’s President Emeritus and candidate for City Council Super District 8 said the following in a statement: 

“Crime control is essential for the success of tourism in downtown Memphis. By ensuring safety, we create a welcoming environment that attracts visitors and preserves our vibrant reputation.”

It is a good reputation that tourists said outweighs the bad. 

"My prayers is just it stops, gun violence to stop," Shands said. "We have to take an active part in that. Put the weapons down.” 

McNulty said he will "definitely" still come back to Memphis."

"Every town suffers from something, so it doesn’t really worry me," he said. "I think Memphis is absolutely stunning and beautiful."

ABC24 has spoken to others who have said now that the new downtown safety plan is in effect and showing progress, they would actually like to see it spread to other areas throughout the city.

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