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Crime and The Mall of Memphis - A Recipe For Closure

Everyone agrees that the crime in and around the mall was a factor in its demise. The crimes were numerous. In hindsight though, it appears that the public may have been misled by the media on the true safety of the mall. Serious crimes that took place five or six miles away were referenced as being in "the Mall of Memphis area". Many of the crimes the media associated with the mall in fact occurred off premisis or the victims were followed on site to be attacked. If the victim had gone to a 7/11, the crime would have happened there instead.

There is actual proof that this was the case - if you review the Rhodes College thesis on "The Demise of The Mall of Memphis" you will see that crimes in and around the mall were not as the media depicted to the public. In fact, the Mall of Memphis was one of the SAFEST malls in town......Rhodes College study on the demise of the mall

Still, there was crime. In September 1992, Louise Warren, shot in the stomach as she left her job in the mall, became the fifth person killed in five years as the result of a robbery at the mall. Perhaps even worse for the mall is the Memphis public tendancy to "broad stroke" problems - a few incidents and Memphians of all colors were afraid to be seen there. This just made it worse.

Some people did have their familes impacted by mall crime in a horrible way.

In 1984, Connie Johnson was found dead in her van at the Mall of Memphis - story this is an example of a crime that did not happen at the mall, but the van was abandoned there.

In 1992, a 71-year-old woman, a shop manager, was shot to death in the parking lot during a robbery attempt. Mike Blaekman, owner of the Hockey Stop, one of the shops in the mall, said: "My vehicle was stolen from this mall in 1998. An armored-car delivery service was robbed inside the mall."

Elson Turner said: "A couple of years ago, a guy killed his girlfriend next to where the drugstore used to be and killed himself in the hall right out here."

To fight crime, the Memphis police put a substation on the ground floor. Crime spotters with binoculars roamed the roof. Elevated guard shacks were installed in the parking lots, though they were removed long ago. That was a negative, because they reinforced shoppers' fears. An interesting sidenote is that mall security operated radios on 464.975 MHZ - Mall Security.

More news on Mall Security December 8, 1996

Some details on the victims from the Internet:

September 9, 1990. An East Memphis woman apparently abducted Friday from near the Mall of Memphis was found slain Saturday in rural Crittenden County, Ark. Two hunters found the body of Dorothy McClung, 37, about noon Saturday on a dirt road north of Interstate 40, west of the Mississippi River, said Memphis Police Lt. J. D. Douglas. A short time later, a 16-year-old Chattanooga youth was arrested in Little Rock while driving Mrs. McClung's 1990 Volvo. He was charged with theft by receiving.

December 31, 1991 - A woman was shot in the parking lot of the Mall of Memphis about 4:50 p.m. Monday during an attempted robbery, police said. Mary Allessi, 48, was leaving the mall when a woman demanded her purse. Allessi turned around and the female suspect shot her in the left hip, said Police Lt. B. J. Kirkpatrick of the East Precinct. Allessi was treated at St. Francis Hospital and released. The suspect fled in a noisy black car without the purse, Kirkpatrick said.

June 21, 1992 - Jewelry valued at $65,000 was taken about 5:10 p.m. Friday from a display case at Dillard Department Store in the Mall of Memphis, according to a police report. A store clerk said she discovered a glass panel had been pried open while she was waiting on a customer at the other end of the counter.

August 5, 1992 - Dillard Department Stores Inc. plans to reopen the former Thalhimers store in the Mall of Memphis on Aug. 19 as Dillard's East, combining it with the existing Dillard's location there to form one of the company's largest stores. The Thalhimers store closed in May when May Co. of St. Louis sold its lease and that of the Lord & Taylor store at Oak Court Mall to Dillard.

September 2, 1992 - An elderly worker at the Mall of Memphis was fatally wounded in an attempted robbery about 9 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Louise Warren, 71, an employee at Life Uniform & Shoe Shop, was shot in the stomach in an apparent robbery attempt, said Lt. Jim Ashe. Ashe said the woman was leaving work and was accosted in the parking lot on the northwest side of the mall, on American Way west of Perkins. He said two men in a blue or black car were involved in the attempted holdup. Seventy-one-year-old Louise V. Warren was just months from retiring when she was fatally wounded after closing her store in the Mall of Memphis Tuesday night. Police say robbery was the gunman's apparent motive. The shooting occurred at her car parked in a handicapped space just outside the mall's northwest entrance. Employees of other stores complained Wednesday about a lack of security in the parking lot.

Sept 27, 1993 - Attempted Felony Murder and Especially Aggravated Robbery In Parking Lot

January 17, 1994 - A man killed himself after shooting his wife outside the Mall of Memphis Sunday. In the mall shooting, Magina B. Wesselschmidt, 45, of 6000 Hickory Meadow Lane No. 2, was shot several times outside her automobile on the south side of the mall near the Dillard's and the cinema entrance, said police Lt. Terry Cobb. She was admitted to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis in critical condition.

June 15, 1995 - Mall carts escort shoppers to car.

Oct 20, 1992 - Stabbing at Wilson World Hotel at The Mall of Memphis

On January 23, 1999 - Jarome Ladd running the family arcade business and is robbed and beaten. Doney Miles is convicted of the crime, in spite of receipts from stores in The Mall of Memphis showing him to be in the mall near the time of the robbery. This is another crime associated with the mall, but that did not occur on or near the mall itself.

February 23, 1999 - A man who allegedly broke a woman's hip when he knocked her down to take her purse at the Mall of Memphis was charged Monday with aggravated robbery and credit card theft. Police said they are trying to determine if Frederick Terrell, 26, of 1095 Beachwood, is responsible for a rash of purse snatchings in the Mall of Memphis area. On February 10, about 6:30 p.m., the 63-year-old victim was leaving the Dillard's store in the mall at 4451 American Way, she was mugged.

Oct 6, 2002 - Shooting at bridge near the Mall

Police cadets form search line looking for evidence at mall site after second body found

July 15, 2006 - Corpse(s) Found At Former Mall of Memphis Site

Flower wreath left for victims of July 2006 on remnants of Mall of Memphis drive (taken 1/25/2007)

Sept 9, 2007 - 3rd Murder Charge For Mall Site Suspect