MEMPHIS, Tenn. — How safe are you from crime when you dine out or work at restaurants in Memphis and Shelby County?

Thursday, members of the Memphis Restaurant Association took their concerns about customers and employee safety straight to elected leaders on the Shelby County Commission’s Safety Committee. They say crime could impact the Memphis economy.

“It was mainly a cry for help to see what’s going on and how it affects our staff and patrons.” said Mike Miller, owner of Patrick’s and president of the Memphis Restaurant Association. He said he was representing “big-named restaurants from downtown on Beale to Huey’s on Poplar.”

The restaurant association recently spelled out their crime concerns in a letter addressed to city and county leaders.

“This is impacting us. We have cars broke into regularly at restaurants and hotels. It’s a problem,” Miller said. “The letter was, hey, this is a big deal and what are we going to do about it? Whatever we’re doing today is not working.”

The MRA says the restaurant, hospitality and service industries employ thousands of people and help drive revenue to support the city, but the crime problem will change that.

“Crime is having an impact on our restaurants, on our hospitality industry and on our tourism,” County Commissioner Mick Wright said. “So, it goes beyond the individual crime and the individual cars that are being stolen and the break-ins. It goes beyond that and has become an economic problem for our city.”

Wright says the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission has a strategy that needs to be enforced by police, sheriff’s deputies and the DA’s office.

“We do have a plan,” Wright said. “The Memphis Shelby Crime Commission Safe Community Action Plan really needs to the one all local officials are working towards adopting and funding all of those actions.”

The restaurant association hopes those actions will help drive out crime.

“Something’s got to change,” Miller said. “Not necessarily sure what that is, but we need our city leaders to come together.”

The Memphis Restaurant Association plans to meet with the district attorney’s office Friday.