Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Recent smash-and-grabs prompt MPD camera integration program

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police are hoping business owners will help fight crime after smash-and-grabs have become an epidemic.

For the third time this year, a cell phone store in the Nutbush area is the victim of a smash-and-grab burglary Thursday.

Wireless of Memphis, located on Jackson Avenue, was burglarized in February and March.

We talked with the store manager after the last break-in. He says things like this are the reason so many businesses are leaving the area.

“Businesses are starting to leave Memphis. They are starting to go to places like Texas, where the law is a little harder on criminals,” the manager said. “Something needs to be done soon before this turns into another Detroit– businesses leaving because the laws won’t protect us.”

The epidemic of Smash and Grabs has a tight grip on the city of Memphis – costing business owners thousands of dollars in merchandise and security equipment.

Memphis Police say they’re working to change that narrative. Last year, they introduced the first step in the Connect Memphis program allowing home and business to register their security cameras with the Memphis Police Department.

This gave officers information on who to reach out to in the event there is a crime, and they need surveillance video.

Now, they’ve rolled out the next step– camera integration.

“If the camera at the business is integrated, we can watch the business camera live. So, if the burglar alarm goes off,  we immediately pull up our cameras, and we can actually see who’s committing these crimes as they’re doing it,” said Deputy Chief Joe Oakley.

Right now, the video can only be monitored in MPD’s Real Time Crime Center. Eventually, police will be able to access the cameras in their squad cars and on an app on their phone.

MPD says the program is voluntary, and businesses can choose which cameras MPD has access to. “This is another tool in our tool kit to help us investigate and monitor crime in areas where high crime is being committed,” said Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis.

The program is still in its early stages. Officials say officers still have to be trained on how to use the system, and it still has to be installed in Memphis Police vehicles.

 

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