State Sen. Brent Taylor, a Republican representing East Shelby County and portions of East Memphis, is urgently seeking assistance from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to address a recent surge in criminal activities in Memphis. In a letter sent on Wednesday, Nov. 15, Taylor implored the governor for state support, specifically requesting an augmentation of Tennessee Highway Patrol officers to bolster law enforcement efforts in the city.
Taylor emphasized the severity of the situation, stating, “My city is under siege.” The appeal underscores the critical need for immediate intervention to quell the escalating wave of crimes that is causing widespread fear and concern among residents.
Taylor’s outreach to the governor aims to mobilize additional resources and support to enhance public safety measures, fostering a collaborative effort between state and local authorities to address the challenges posed by the recent surge in criminal activities.
Taylor asserts that the situation is dire, prompting numerous constituents to request the governor’s deployment of the National Guard to Memphis. However, he deems this solution ineffective, citing the city’s expansive geographical size and noting that National Guard members lack training in law enforcement.
“Memphians are absolutely frightened and terrified, businesses are frightened,” Taylor said. “There are people who live in Memphis, and I hear from them all of the time, they’re looking to sell their homes and move to a community they think is safer. I believe our crime problem may be beyond our local grasp to fix and we need assistance from the governor and the state to ensure we have police.”
The number of homicides and murders in Memphis has surged in 2023 compared to the previous year. As of Oct. 9, the Memphis Police Department (MPD) reported 302 homicides (254 murders), a notable increase from 221 homicides (185 murders) recorded at the same time during the previous year.
Additionally, according to the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, between January and June 2023, theft from vehicles in Memphis experienced a significant rise of 130.3% compared to the corresponding period in 2022.