Nashville is on pace to end 2018 with substantially fewer murder cases than last year. Yet, overall crime has ticked upward, largely because of more thefts and the fourth straight year of substantially more stolen cars.
And Metro police crime stats show some neighborhoods are struggling more than others with day-to-day incidents.
Year-end numbers are yet to be finalized, but with a few days left, they reveal:
- 84 homicides, down from 102 at this time last year (30 cases from 2018 remain unsolved);
- violent crime is closely in line with last year;
- auto theft is up about 20 percent, and;
- the Central, Midtown and North precincts saw the largest crime increases.
Metro police are hesitant to suggest specific reasons that the numbers change. However, spokeswoman Kris Mumford did call attention to a substantial dip in violent crime in East Nashville — down more than 10 percent — and gave credit to a partnership with the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority for enforcement inside its James Cayce public housing complex.
In contrast, despite a concerted public push to encourage East Nashvillians to “park smart,” the area continued to see more car break-ins and auto thefts.
“Year after year, we’re saying, over half of cars are taken with keys available,” Mumford said. “Some folks are still pulling up to a convenience store and letting their car run and their car is taken.”
Stats And Perceptions Vary
In North Nashville, resident Robert McCrary, Jr., knows a similar feeling.
“My car has been gone through on more than one occasion,” he said. “We slip sometimes, man.”
Since 2006, he’s lived and been highly active in the Buena Vista neighborhood. That’s within the police department’s North Precinct, where car thefts have doubled in two years — averaging more than one a day in 2018.
Yet McCrary says feelings are mixed, and numerical trends don’t always match what people are seeing. In the North Precinct this year, some crimes are up (rape, assault, vehicle theft) and others are down (burglaries, street robberies, homicides).
McCrary says the sense is that recent weeks have been “unusually busy in our neck of the woods.”
“I think there’s a feeling of safety and calm … but nothing is going to make anyone feel safe when 5 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon there are gunshots,” he said.
This week, a police chase ended in his neighborhood when authorities say a 22-year-old from Florida carjacked a local driver and then was pursued by the department’s helicopter.
McCrary said that kind of high-profile incident will likely be talked about for awhile, even though it may only end up as a single tally in the stats.