Crime Commission founder Ira Lipman died last week in New York City. It is due to Ira Lipman’s vision and leadership that the Crime Commission was established in 1996 and obtained non-profit corporate status in 1997.
The violent crime rate in Memphis had reached disturbing levels in 1996. Both public and private leaders sought solutions to the community’s number one concern. Ira Lipman led the way toward creation of the Crime Commission as an entity charged with identifying and promoting best practices to prevent and curb crime in the Memphis community. He arranged for public and private sector leaders to visit other cities with crime commissions, including Chicago, New Orleans, and Kansas City.
His company, Guardsmark, Inc., grew into the nation’s largest privately held security company, employing nearly 19,000 people at its peak. The Crime Commission was funded initially by Guardsmark and the Plough Foundation (which continues its support of the Crime Commission and its mission). This was followed soon by strong support from others such as FedEx.
Ira Lipman was recognized as a national leader on security matters, writing numerous books and articles on the topic and serving as chair of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. He was a strong supporter of reasonable limitations on access to guns.
We remember Ira Lipman as an effective community leader who made Memphis a better place and inspired others to go the extra mile to do the same.