MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — Looks can be deceiving. In Mount Juliet, neighbors have seen an increase of crime posts on apps like "NextDoor," but police said it doesn't tell the whole story.
Captain Tyler Chandler said, "Robberies are down, burglaries are down, aggravated assaults are all down, of course it's very rare when we have a murder."
Chandler explained that while it may seem like crime in the area has increased with the availability people now have to text alerts and social media, the crime rate in the Mt. Juliet area is actually much lower than it used to be. He posted in the NextDoor app:
" [O]ur crime rate is much lower than it was in 2006 when Mt. Juliet had around 19,000 residents. Today, it is estimated that we have about 34,000 residents. In fact, there were only 151 more crimes reported in a city that grew by more than 15,000 people over 11 years. That's pretty amazing, considering all of our growth. "
Captain Chandler went on to say that despite what the perception of crime in the area is, numbers of serious crimes had actually decreased in recent years while police were seeing a larger number of other non-violent crimes like fraud and shoplifting.
"Our city is not immune to crime, and our officers work hard every day keep this community safe. We have a great community and many great citizens who care about the safety and the well-being of our city. Let us all continue to lift it up, care about each other, and practice good crime prevention (locking your cars, removing valuables, and reporting suspicious activity). Together we can ensure Mt. Juliet's crime stays low and even work to get it lower."
According to data, the majority of crimes investigated in 2017 included fraud, shoplifting, and unlocked vehicle burglaries. In addition, juvenile crime has trickled over to Mt. Juliet from surrounding areas.
Chandler said, "They're after unlocked cars, any item of value, firearms in those vehicles, and if they get lucky and find the keys in it, they're going to steal the car."
For instance on Christmas Eve, there was a standoff in a local neighborhood with four teenagers from Nashville who were in a stolen car with guns. Instances like that receive a lot of attention online. However, if you look to other data, 35 burglaries were reported in 2017 which is 46 fewer than were reported in 2006.
Chandler said, "I don't think it's a win until we have zero crime because you always have a victim out there, and if it's the victim of a simple mailbox vandalism, or a victim in an aggravated assault, both of those are equally important to us."