Nashville TN April 30 2011 Reported crime rose in Nashville last year, for the first time since 2006.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Thursday released its final crime statistics for 2010, showing an overall 3.4 percent decrease in crime statewide. But while the state and nearby Middle Tennessee counties saw general declines, Nashville saw a slight overall increase, including a 37 percent jump in all reported sex crimes and a 21 percent jump in burglaries, a crime that has stymied police.
Mayor Karl Dean declined to comment on the crime statistics, instead deferring to Metro police.
“Chief Anderson, the deputy chiefs and precinct commanders discuss crime trends and strategies each Friday,” spokesman Don Aaron said. “It has been and continues to be the police department’s mission to enhance safety and reduce crime in neighborhoods throughout Nashville.”
Tennessee overall saw double-digit declines in several property crime categories and a 13 percent drop in homicides.
“Law enforcement in general works diligently every day, and when you see the overall number of crimes reported across the state drop even slightly, that’s encouraging,” said Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for TBI.
Nashville’s neighborhoods in late 2010 were under siege from brazen burglars who would break in during broad daylight, clean out homes and be gone before alarms or neighbors could alert police.
Christian Paro, 32, was one such victim. On Nov. 13, his girlfriend returned to their East Nashville home to find something terribly wrong.
“She came in; the front door was locked. But she noticed things didn’t look right,” Paro said. “The TV in the living room was missing; the back door was open. She went upstairs and saw all the drawers were rummaged through, her jewelry chest.”
They were shocked by the timing of the burglary. It was about 10:30 a.m. on a sunny Saturday. He has since installed an alarm but was burglarized a second time on April 12.
The city also saw jumps in sex crimes, though the department declined to address the increase, saying there could be problems with the TBI’s data.
“MNPD staff is presently reviewing and reconciling police data with (TBI) figures,” Aaron said.
Questions have been raised about the department’s practice of filing away some cases — sex crime allegations included — as noncrime “matter of record” reports that don’t appear in statistics. In January, Metro police announced they would be recategorizing scores of sex crime allegations to actual crimes after re-evaluating the cases.
Metro police are still awaiting an overall audit of the department’s crime statistics, which have similarly come under question over the past several years.
Sumner crime drops
Neighboring counties saw crime remain flat or decline, with Sumner leading the pack.
Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford said his detectives had great success in 2010 in busting burglary cases, which helped contribute to a 14 percent decline in property crimes.
“We have really stepped up our patrols and are working the areas where, if we have one burglary, we kind of saturate that area and work those neighborhoods for the next week or so,” Weatherford said.
Weatherford said Sumner County’s growth will reach a tipping point where his department will need more deputies to keep pace with expected demands.
It’s a similar story in Williamson County, which saw the raw number of crimes increase but a lower crime rate because of an increased population.
“We have just an X amount of deputies to go around, and that hasn’t grown in a while,” said Deputy Rod Shoap of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.
As for Paro, he’s not giving up on his East Nashville home, in spite of seeing more crime in his neighborhood.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “But I am getting a dog. A Doberman pinscher.