FOX13 Investigates: Can the business community help Memphis fight crime?

by: Greg Coy Updated:


Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings is asking the business community for help to fight crime. 

Rallings made his plea before the Rotary Club as business leaders are worried about how the perception of crime impacts their bottom line.

Rallings told the audience in 2017, he will come out swinging about the perception of crime in the Bluff City, particularly among local media.  "I think you guys have done a great job, sometimes telling the story. But I am going to tell my own story this year."

His 20 minute speech was how Rallings plans to reduce crime, especially the numbers of murders.

He said he needs the business community in his corner. "I am excited about 2017.  I think 2017 is going to be a better year," Rallings told FOX13. 

When it comes to figuring out why Memphis had a record number of killings one year and then a drop in the homicides a few years later, the Director said the issue is worthy of academic study.

"Every single college in Memphis that has a criminal justice program or a social science program should be taking on this study," said Rallings. 

Academic reviews take time and business leaders told us crime and commerce do not mix.

"Crime is related to the work force that you have here.  And that has certainly driven some companies from the Memphis market," said Arthur Oliver II, the incoming president of the Memphis Rotary.

FOX13 asked Rotarian Gray Carter if he has heard of any employees leaving Memphis, because of the crime problem. " No, but we have had some business not anchor here, not in the recent history, but in the last two years," Carter replied.

Rallings told business leaders they need to get involved, because the police and city hall cannot do it alone. "We have asked for something pretty simple. We have asked for the business community to help us provide jobs.  The business community has the capacity to mentor young people and also hire felons," said Rallings.