Police Chief Steve Anderson addresses state of crime in Nashville

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 sat down with Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson to discuss the state of crime after the city saw a 20-year high in murders in 2017.

The chief expressed deep concern about the rising number of murders and the increase in gun violence.

The number of shootings that caused injury or death increased by 35 percent in Nashville in 2017 compared to 2016.

“People are more apt to use guns to settle differences that would have been settled in other ways in the past,” Chief Anderson said. “And a real disturbing part of this is the age of both the victims and the perpetrators are going down, so there’s a record number of juveniles involved in both homicides and shootings, victims and perpetrators.”

Chief Anderson spoke about the tragedy of the case of 74-year-old Ruxin Wang who was allegedly shot and killed by 16-year-old Myeisha Brown.

“It’s pretty obvious when you look at her background that there were opportunities to intervene and we as a society did not.”

He continued, “We now have two lives destroyed. We have the gentleman that’s deceased, and we have [Brown’s] life that’s now basically destroyed.”

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The chief said it would take more than just efforts of the police department to turn the tide on rising juvenile crime.

“The generation that’s coming of age, we’re seeing the crime numbers go up, both in victims and perpetrators at the juvenile level. So, that’s a warning to us as a society that we’ve got to step in. We can’t let this trend continue to the next generation,” he said.

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Data provided by the police department showed that shootings involving teens, ages 13 to 17, were up 78 percent from 2016 to 2017.

However, the department noted that the amount of guns confiscated on the streets of Nashville was 2,800 in 2017, compared to closer to 2,100 guns in 2016.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has approved funding for 70 additional police officers to help the department police a growing Nashville.

Another crime Chief Anderson said is concerning is the up-tick in home break-ins.

“One thing that’s always concerning to me is residential burglaries,” he said.

“Residential burglary by definition is a property crime. It’s just stuff, but to someone who has had their house invaded, it’s very personal. And then we know that’s where a good many of the guns come from that wind up shooting someone.”

MNPD public data through December 30 indicates residential burglaries were down 20 percent in 2017 compared to the same time period in 2016.

Julie Edwards tracks crime trends each Tuesday and Thursday on News 2 at 4 p.m.