‘Start with the little kids’: Metro police chief speaks on youth violence

(Photo: WKRN)

There are 2 videos inside this story. Click here to see both from the News 2 app.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville’s Chief of Police stopped by the National Night Out event in East Nashville, an area that’s seen an increase in violence.

Chief Steve Anderson noted crime is on the rise a little bit just about everywhere, including out east.

“You know, there’s a large influx of people, and we’re here tonight to make friends with everybody we can, especially all the newcomers. We need to work together as a community to stay on top of this,” he told News 2.

(Photo: WKRN)

Chief Anderson said crime prevention and control comes down to the details.

“Every Friday at CompStat, we talk about where we need to be, what we need to do, and forming community groups to get to know everybody, make everybody a part of the team,” he explained.

We asked the chief what to do about the rise in youth violence, and he said we need to start young.

“We’re going to have to start with the little kids and teaching them about the consequences of their decisions, because that’s what’s causing all of this, bad decisions. Teen violence on teen violence and we’re seeing that go up and up, all across the nation but here in Nashville also,” he told News 2.

RELATED: Juvenile homicides up in Nashville so far this year

Chief Anderson said they want to educate everybody, saying parents need to be parents and kids need to be kids.

“But they need to take responsibility for their actions just like adults do,” he added.

Local nonprofits are also trying to stem the tide of rising youth violence. Kenny Purvis with Nashville Inner City Ministries says when you have a generation without hope, people will find other ways to deal with it.

“So we are in the business of trying to have enough time with kids in order to teach them a different way and try to show them a better way to deal with conflict working on forgiveness instead of hatred and holding a grudge,” Purvis explained.

East Nashville’s event was held at East Park off Woodland Street. It’s one of many National Night Out events that took place across Middle Tennessee as part of the nationwide crime prevention initiative.