MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 13-year-old was allegedly sexually assaulted by someone she met on Beale Street this weekend. Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings say it’s one of the crimes highlighting the need to bring back an admission fee to curb crime.
Mayor Jim Strickland says it’s simple. The admission fee helps people more then it hurts their pockets.
“When you have the fee, crime goes down. When you don’t have the fee, crime goes up. This is DejaVu. It feels like we’ve been having this same argument for several years, and you can probably replay something I said last year.”
The mayor said on WREG’s Live at Nine that he supports the City Council’s vote to enforce a temporary fee.
“This past weekend we had two human surges of people rushing down the street and a shooting. This fee is different than in the past. This time all the money will go towards funding protection on the street and building a fence.”
Rallings agrees that something has to change after recent violence on Beale Street.
“I can’t guarantee public safety, and that bothers me. So $200,000 would go towards the fence. The rest would go towards making sure there’s enough security out.”
Rallings says he sees the change as the best option.
“If it’s the will of council and the people for me to shutdown other precincts and strictly focus on Beale Street I will be happy to do that. When we did not do Beale Street Bucks there were 24 stampedes. When we did them there was one.”
But not everyone agrees.
“Don’t charge people because of what they can’t do,” business owner Lucille Catron said.
She thinks police need to find another way to do their job.
This past weekend there were two shootings on Beale Street, and a 13-year-old girl says she was assaulted. Memphis Police aren’t releasing many details.
They say the assault didn’t occur on Beale Street, but that she met her attacker there after getting separated from her parents for several hours.
The new admission fee goes into effect Saturday.