In a Brentwood Public Safety Committee meeting when police chief Steve Disbennett said violent crime is up, and some of it in public areas, Alderman Tom Kramer, on the committee, said he'd like to see commercial community members to play a bigger roll in deterrence.
There's a "potential of a team partnership between the city and our commercial corridor operators, so we can work together for creating safety and deterrence in our commercial areas," he said in a Public Safety Committee meeting on Thursday.
Representatives from the larger Brentwood businesses were invited to talk about crime in their areas, and what they’ve done about it.
Ann Degnon, general manager of SpringHill Suites and Andrew Checkley, president of MLP, developer of Hanley Station development share a parking garage. Degnon and said there were 60 car break-ins in their shared garage in 2010.
Checkley said hiring off-duty Brentwood police officers was the biggest deterrent. “We got traction real quick,” he said. He said Springhill Suites couldn’t afford to lose any more customers and Hanley Station couldn’t afford to have residents’ cars broken into three times a week.
JoLynn Kirchner, DCM Group, manager for the Meridian and Musick Construction president, Eric Christner said 2012 is better than the year before.
They employ security guards 18 hours a day, 365 days a year, but it’s a large area, and only two guards work it all.
Kirchner said 72 cameras cover the 10-story Metro garage and 36 cover the 6-story garage. They were concerned with violent crimes, but that hasn’t happened, she said.
Christner said Sports Authority has its own security and doesn't want his or the city's help. He said when a shoplifter is caught at Best Buy, sometimes he’s arrested, but other times he’s told to return the item and he can leave.
Dierbergs general manager Debbie Robberson said a Brentwood police officer parks at the top of the lot so they don’t have many problems there.
She said shoplifting in the store is a problem. When they know someone has shoplifted, Robberson said only managers handle it, because safety of employees is more important than getting anything back.
Aldewoman Maureen Saunders, who is not on the committee, said in public comments that the biggest deterrent seems to be off-duty Brentwood police officers, and she wants that presence in residential neighborhoods as well as commercial areas.
“As much as we want to protect the commercial areas, the residents want those police officers in the neighborhoods, just as (Dierbergs has) with the officer at the top of the street,” she said.
Saunders is pushing for Brentwood to add the three additional police officers that Disbennett requested at previous meetings.
The additional officers are not currently included in the budget, which is scheduled to be approved soon. She said the city should forgo the suggested 3 percent pay raise for employees, and hire the three additional officers.