Metro Police Respond To Record Low Murder Rate For 2013 - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Metro Police Respond To Record Low Murder Rate For 2013

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by Janet Kim

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The murder rates in Nashville are the lowest they've been in 50 years, and officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department say it's no accident. 

The city's highest murder total was in 1997, with 112. In 2012, the number was 62. In 2013, there were 43 murders. It's a drastic decline that has police analyzing why and looking at what needs to be done this year and beyond.  

From the shooting death of 17-year old Jonathan Johnson at his bus stop on 10th Avenue North in April to the murder of Darrell Wright at Church and Son market in August, Nashville has had its share of violence in 2013 with nearly four dozen murders recorded for the year. 

"That's 43 victims that died at the hands of someone that didn't need to happen," said Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson. "That's 43 families that are affected for the rest of their lives." 

While Chief Anderson notes the number is still significant, the homicide rate is also the lowest it's been in the 50-year history of Metro Government. In 1963, the murder rate was 45. The average over 50 years is just over 77 murders. 

"There are people that did not become a victim of homicide because of the work that's being done on the street, the support of the community and the support of the mayor and the support of council, making sure we have the resources to be out there doing things that need to be done," said Anderson. 

Chief Anderson also credits clergymen like Nashville Pastor Michael Joyner who have partnered with Metro Police, consoling victims and preventing retaliations.  

"A lot of times, it means us going to the scene and talking with parents, the kids, so we do whatever we can to try to prevent, and we try to be proactive instead of reactive," said Joyner. 

It's a partnership that brings police and church to a common goal: reducing numbers, one life at a time. 

"We're trying to turn lives around – that's the business of the church," said Joyner. "We love working with the police department but our work is to save lives like theirs is." 

Along with the support of the Metro Government and Nashville's clergy, the Chief also credits the partnership with over 500 neighborhood watch groups to the decline in numbers. 

While major crime numbers for 2013 won't be finalized for a few weeks, Chief Anderson says he anticipates an overall decrease of approximately 2,000 major crime incidents, which is a 6 percent decrease. 


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