New safety committee chair keeping neighborhood alert

Wes Williamson joined the Cooper-Young Community Association Board earlier this year and he is excited to find new ways to volunteer in the neighborhood. With some measure of thanks to Debbie Sowell, Wes and his partner James have lived in Cooper-Young for the last five years. They both enjoy living in a neighborhood that is full many great eateries, businesses, and great neighbors that reach out to each other, which he believes is the real strength of any community.

Wes has previously served on the CYCA Safety Committee and recently he gladly accepted the role of chairman for the committee. When asked about safety in Cooper Young, Wes offered his thoughts  …

It seems that everyone only thinks of safety as it relates back to crime and crime prevention in the neighborhood, and both of these are exceedingly important.

In the time I have lived in Cooper-Young, the Memphis Police Department has done an amazing job coordinating with the CYCA to adjust patrol levels in the neighborhood and to educate residents at CYCA general meetings about various strategies to protect ourselves from criminals in various situations. This has included loaning engravers to engrave personal items with driver’s license numbers in order to identify stolen items, constant reminders to leave nothing in your vehicles, and their most important reminder, to call 911 in any emergency situation.

The CYCA, through our executive director Kristan Huntley, strives to keep residents informed about spikes in criminal activities. Mostly, the CYCA gets information from residents and from the MPD’s CyberWatch program, a daily email that lets residents know about criminal activity and active warrants within a specified radius of your residence.

You can sign up for CyberWatch emails at The CYCA does its best to communicate as much as it can to the neighborhood through emails and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor (a social network just for the neighborhood). Remember, always call 911 to report a crime or any suspicious activity you see. With all of that being said, safety in your home and neighborhood extends well beyond crime.

A couple of years ago Sarah Frierson orchestrated an amazing experience for residents to receive disaster response training form the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. Those of us that participated in the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training enjoyed the camaraderie among neighbors and learned many valuable lessons on how to become a first responder in the neighborhood in the event of a major disaster. Our certifications were valid for two years and this is something that I firmly believe would be of great value to for Cooper-Young residents to be engaged again to participate in another Cooper-Young CERT training event.

Safety considerations touch many aspects of our lives can be as simple as looking both ways before crossing the street and as difficult as knowing the appropriate way to dispose of paint thinner so it doesn’t pose a health risk, a fire risk, or damage the environment.

There are even seasonal safety concerns. One that pops to mind right now is Halloween. I’m sure we all remember the fun we had at Halloween as kids and we were completely unaware of any safety concepts of safety aside from checking your candy. This year Halloween will be on Thursday, and the CYCA asks that everyone please wrap up their trick-Or-treating by 8 p.m. Also, please, please, please park and walk. Every year there are many cars on the street driving from house to house and this creates an opportunity for a child to be hit by a car. Remember, the goal of this night is for the kids to have fun and make it back home safely.

There are many ways to volunteer in your neighborhood. If there is anyone interested in getting involved with your community and be a member of the Cooper Young Community Association’s Safety Committee, please send an email to

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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