Following William Adair’s speech Wednesday to a room full of local commercial real estate professionals about his $100 million Piperton Hills development, an audience member put the Collierville native on the spot about how his team plans to tackle safety concerns.
He explained that only four roads lead into the residential area, and that cameras will be installed detecting warrants on any cars entering and exiting the community within 12 seconds.
As a matter of fact, one of the problems Adair and his team encountered when they started developing the property was that Fayette County Mayor Rhea “Skip” Taylor wanted “about a dozen roads going in and out of the center,” Adair said.
“With that many roads, I don’t think that you could ever control the crime that would be generated there,” Adair said. “When the railroad came in, although it was an issue, it actually shut off the eastern part of this project. By doing that, it limited it down to four roads, which gave us what we want which is security for the whole section to where we could actually control it.”
Also cutting down on crime are the fact that Shelby Drive will eventually dead end into the school district, Adair said, making the only way out of the schools is back up Shelby Drive. Adair has also donated land for police and fire stations.
Adair told the audience about his visit with Southaven about six weeks ago, in which officials shared with him the arching success the area has seen due to its ability to control crime.
The end of June marked Southaven’s highest producing quarter of sales tax in the city’s history, Adair said.
“I said, ‘What caused that?’ They said, ‘We sat down with the business community and said, “What do we need to do to control crime?’”
He said Southaven put extra policemen in the parking lots where “crowds of kids were gathering together doing things they shouldn’t be doing.”
Then the store owners added their own security guards and made immediate front-store parking fire-lane only, giving tickets to anybody that didn’t abide by the rule.
Finally – and here’s the kicker – the city set up a system, “that said if you get caught in Southaven, Miss., for shoplifting, no questions asked, you get 30 days in jail,” Adair said. “If you get caught the second time, you get 90 days in jail.”
By doing that, Southaven’s shoplifting dropped by 90 percent.
“So by securing their parking lot and securing their store themselves, they’ve generated a secure environment,” Adair said. “Today, their sales are up higher than they’ve ever been in history – and in a recession. There are a lot of things that the business community can do to help their businesses when others are doing things that they shouldn’t.”