Rising crime rates are a major concern for Middle Tennesseans. According to the 2015 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) “Crime in Tennessee” publication, 2015 saw an increase in homicide (9.4%), forcible rape (2.4%), weapon law violations (2.1%), and kidnapping/abductions (21.6%). In its annual report, the Bureau breaks down crime into three categories: Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Property, and Crimes Against Society.
Fortunately, there are ways we can work together with our neighbors and local law enforcement to protect ourselves and our communities from crime. Crime prevention cannot be achieved by one institution alone. Rather, effective crime prevention results from a web of institutions, agencies, and daily life — including communities, families, schools, policing and criminal justice.
An example of communities and police officers joining together to prevent crime is the Nashville neighborhood Edgehill. According to Brenda Morrow of the Edgehill Neighborhood Partnership, residents gather with the local police every month to discuss issues affecting the neighborhood and ways to improve them. Morrow told WKRN, “We were the first community to have officers on bikes, on horses; we were the first community to sign a public contract and commitment with the police and the community,” she said.
Police Chief Steve Anderson is also complimentary of the relationship between his staff and the residents of Edgehill, and says he has seen a decrease in crime since the beginning of the partnership.
Crime prevention doesn’t just improve communities; it also strengthens the family unit. According to A Shared Sentence, an April 2016 policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 44,000 children in Tennessee (10%) have parents who are or have been incarcerated. The national average is 7%.
According to the report, “Families are building blocks of communities, states and the nation, but are broken down by the unstable environment caused by incarceration. The effect may be magnified if children live in a community (usually a low-income community) which has many residents who are in or returning from incarceration. This type of traumatic event can create damage to children that can last for their lives, preventing them from achieving their full potential.”
To learn more about organizations helping to prevent crime in Middle Tennessee, click here.
National Crime Prevention Council
National Town Watch
McGruff The Crime Dog
Senior Fraud Prevention
Celebrate Safe Communities Program
Preventing Rural Crime
Vacation Checklist Brochure
Personal Property Identification Tips
U.S. Justice Department statistics on juvenile arrests at the national, state and county levels
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
U.S. Surgeon General's report on youth violence
Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods
Metropolitan Courthouse Nashville, TN 37201
Phone: (615) 862-6000
Updated 9/20/16 by Kathryn Bennett