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Downtown Memphis Commission security team to begin overnight patrols to help MPD in high-crime areas

DMC says people should feel safe when visiting Memphis's main attractions downtown.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thursday, the Downtown Memphis Commission released its "State of Downtown Memphis" report for 2022, discussing their plans to continue improving the area’s growth. 

Which can be difficult if people don’t feel safe there. 

“Night time? No sir, I would not come down here (then) unless I was with more than one person,” said Memphis woman Denise Collins when asked about visiting Beale Street. 

She says she even gets concerned going there by herself during the day. 

“When I’m with someone else, I’m not too concerned,” Collins said. “But when I see people walking around with guns on their hips, that kind of scares me.”

Making sure that people can feel safe in the city’s main hub for business and entertainment is why the DMC is working with the University of Memphis to create what they call “Actionable Safety Strategies and Action Steps”. 

“When we identified times of days and evenings when crimes are being committed downtown, we saw a need there,” said DMC Director of Safety and Hospitality Lawrence Green II. “We saw an opportunity there.”

To that end, Green says DMC’s Blue Suede Brigade security team will start paroling downtown overnight. Those overnight patrols will involve four to six members of the BSB, using a vehicle equipped with high-visibility lights.

“What we’re doing is identifying (crime) hotspots,” Green said. 

DMC says the area’s greatest challenge is preventing property damage, specifically car break-ins.

“My team will be patrolling, allowing MPD to free themselves up to do and be where they’re mostly needed,” Green said. 

Green expects those patrols to begin sometime during February once they have the patrol vehicle.  

He says DMC’s safety plans also include adding additional cameras and looking for the best places to add additional lighting outside of Beale Street to increase visibility. 

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