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New Orleans looks to Beale Street to help combat Bourbon Street crime

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- New Orleans officials are looking to Memphis for ideas on how to keep their entertainment district safe. It’s part of a $40 million safety proposal for their city based on research of other areas.

Beale Street's often known for its music, entertainment and dining.

“Beale Street is the crown jewel of Memphis and the state of Tennessee," said Ken Taylor with the Beale Street Merchants Association.

With over five million visitors a year, Beale Street's a huge economic driver in our region.

Business leaders said they always keep one goal in mind:

“To make sure as amazing of an experience as you have when you come to Beale Street, that experience is always a safe experience," said Taylor.

That safe experience is now being viewed as a model for others. New Orleans is launching the $40 million security initiative to fight crime, especially after seeing a 54 percent jump in murders in 2016.

Bourbon Street is a huge tourist attraction, like Beale St.

Beale St.'s had its share of crime, which led police, the Downtown Memphis Commission, Beale Street Merchants and more to create the Full Safety Enhancement plan last summer.

“We’ve been able to take Memphis’ unique challenges and turn them into unique strengths," said Taylor.

Through Sky Cops, an extra police presence and more measures, like Beale Street Bucks, they said crime’s dropped by 30 percent in one year.

New Orleans is hoping to see similar results by imitating some of the plans.

“Here’s a little more modern [and] a little safer," said Lawrence Jackson, visiting from Dallas, Texas. "Bourbon Street, you’ve got to know where you’re going and know where you’re at.”

People in New Orleans are pushing back to a proposed 3 a.m. closing time for bars. The same idea was considered for Beale Street but was met with resistance.