Judge: Don’t come to Cooper-Young and ‘mess it up’
Two heavy hitters in the city’s fight against crime and blight told Cooper-Young residents recently they need the public’s help in keeping the neighborhood safe and vibrant.
Col. Russell Houston, precinct commander of the Memphis Police Department’s Crump Station, said recent crime rates in the precinct are not out of line with historic rates, but “any crime is too much crime.”
From Jan. 1 through mid-February the precinct logged five residential burglaries and 18 thefts, Houston said. There were also three cases of robbery from an individual, including one reported armed robbery at the recycling bins at Cooper and Walker that caused a stir among neighbors recently.
The precinct, whose boundaries surround the L shape of South and East Parkway and include Cooper-Young, keeps close tabs on incident reports to spot trends early. That means residents shouldn’t hesitate to report crimes, even if they don’t file an insurance report, because it helps the department track trends and concentrate patrols where needed, Houston said. The precinct’s phone number is 636-4600 and the non-emergency number for Memphis Police is 545-COPS.
Judge Larry Potter, who heads the Memphis and Shelby County Environmental Court, told residents that he is working to make it easier for neighborhood groups like the CYCA to bring property owners to court for code violations and blight cases against vacant or unmaintained properties.
Quality of life issues can have a major impact on crime, he said, and he is working with Memphis Police to have officers working some cases.
“When you reduce blight, you reduce crime, because blight and crime go hand in hand,” Potter said.
The court, which was only the third of its kind in the country when Potter established in 1982, hears some 50,000 cases each year and is expanding so that Potter will hear only environmental cases, he said. When blight cases are cleared, property values go up in neighborhoods, too.
“People are getting the message, you don’t come to Memphis, to Cooper-Young, and mess it up,” he said.