Memphis Police increasing patrols for ‘Operation Winter Freeze’

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police are putting more officers on the streets in hopes of improving safety in dangerous parts of the city.

It’s called “Operation Winter Freeze”. The idea is to stop violent crime before it happens by adding extra patrols in certain areas.

The operation starts Saturday and runs through March 19. Chief Michael Hardy says officers will focus on the two most violent areas of each precinct across town.

“They [officers] are to be highly visible,” Hardy said, “We’re not trying to over police an area. These are areas that we have statistical data that shows that violent crimes are happening at a high rate.”

For example, the Uptown area, where MPD crime stats show at least 16 aggravated assaults since New Year’s Day.

“We need to stop these crimes from occurring if we can,” Hardy said.

Police also intend to arrest a number of people with active warrants during the operation.

“People who are wanted on violent felonies,” Hardy said.

Josh Spickler is a criminal justice system reform advocate with an organization called Just City. He says this extra show of force won’t solve the problems that create crime in Memphis, like generational poverty. 

“Those are very systemic and structural conditions that exist in this community, and until we get serious about addressing those structural problems, the inequities, that’s not gonna get us where we want to go,” Spickler said.

MPD conducted a similar operation last Winter and made more than 300 arrests.

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