Memphis City Leaders: Increased Crime May Scare Away Potential Investors

Image Credit: GPA Photo Archive / CC

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

A great deal of money has been spent on updating the riverfront, convention center, and other developments in downtown Memphis throughout the past few years, but some city leaders are concerned that out-of-control crime may render that all worthless.

According to City Councilman Chase Carlisle, crime is becoming such a problem that it could cause potential investors to shy away from downtown Memphis altogether.

“If we cannot bring the crime statistics down in the downtown area, we will not get private investors,” Carlisle said. “This is becoming a dire situation.”

Statistics from the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission showed, as of August, that crime had increased more than 8% in Memphis this year.

The city’s Data Hub shows that 4,501 crimes have been reported in the 38103 zip code, which makes up the majority of the downtown area. A year ago, that number was only at 3,913. This means downtown Memphis has seen a 15% jump in reported crimes.

Carlisle noted the importance of providing a safe place for visitors, such as those who come for Grizzlies games or to walk Beale Street. However, with weekends like a recent one where 30 cars were broken into on one block in a single night, that is becoming more difficult.

Lenders and investors perform a risk analysis on an area before beginning any new project. One factor in that risk analysis is the crime rate. Carlisle noted that, on a personal level, the current crime rate has made it difficult for his family to get insurance one their downtown property.

“At some point, we are going to tip the scale on whether or not Memphis is bankable and we won’t have the option for private investment,” Carlisle said.

Councilwoman Rhonda Logan says she has already heard people discussing a move outside of city limits because of the crime.

“We are virtually in a state of emergency as a city,” Logan said.

City leaders say they are doing everything in their power to help with the problem, including an increase in patrols and more visibility of downtown officers.

Carlisle said that Paul Young, leader of the Downtown Memphis Commission, has promised to increase patrols of the Blue Suede Brigade starting in January.

Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis echoed the concerns of the Council Members, stating that she would be sending dozens of new officers out soon. She also acknowledged the need for more foot, motorcycle, and mounted patrol in the downtown area.

Davis says the increased police presence is a visual reminder that law enforcement is out there and is a deterrent to many crimes.

“I have said, and will continue to say, if you lose your downtown space, you have lost your city,” Davis said. “Some people don’t understand that. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about the rest of our residents, but as far as the growth of the city and ensuring that people who visit here will feel safe and come back and invest in our city, it’s really important for us to take care of our downtown space. It is the face of the rest of the city, so we are very concerned.”

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

3 thoughts on “Memphis City Leaders: Increased Crime May Scare Away Potential Investors

  • December 23, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    These Democrat liberal cities get what they paid for.

  • December 25, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    Memphis is very dangerous. In 2018 the President of the Chamber started to spend time Downtown to show people it was safe. Within 2 months he was murdered. This is true – look it up.

  • December 27, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    Maybe. They should straighten up their court system. I’m on the other end of the state and couldn’t be happier for it.


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