The overall major crime rate for Metro Nashville fell for the sixth consecutive year during 2009 — to the lowest level in 20 years, according to statistics released Wednesday.
The 2009 major crime total was 10.9 percent below that of 2008. Five of the seven major crime reporting categories reflected reductions last year. Violent and property crime both decreased in 2009 by 15.5 percent and 9.8 percent respectively.
In 2009, rape declined 8.5 percent to its lowest level since 1979; aggravated assault declined 16.1 percent to its lowest level since 1990; robbery declined 15.7 percent to its lowest level since 1999; larceny declined 12.5 percent to its lowest level since 1990; and motor vehicle theft declined 26.4 percent to its lowest level in since Metro government was formed in 1963.
While most of the report including glowing reductions in reported crime, two categories did see increases — criminal homicide (up by 8.1 percent or six cases) and burglary (up by 7.1 percent.)
The 2009 overall crime rate, which is based on Nashville’s population estimates, was the lowest since 1978. The violent crime rate last year was the lowest since 1986. The property crime rate was the lowest since 1972.
Serpas also attributed part of the city’s success in reducing crime to the department’s partnership with citizens.
“It is no accident that the number of Neighborhood Watch Groups has grown by more than 200 over the past six years and now total 475,” he said.
“The police department's dedicated officers and professional support staff continue to give their all for the safety of Nashville’s families and neighborhoods,” Police Chief Ronal Serpas said. “I am extremely proud of them as we all work to build on 2009’s successes.
Traffic fatalities also drop
Traffic deaths last year totaled 68, a 5.6 percent reduction from 2008. A significant and consistent concern is that victims in half of the fatal crashes where seatbelts were available chose not to wear them. Injury crashes last year dropped by 15.2 percent. Overall crashes (both property damage and injury) were down 12.2 percent.
Metro police officers made 283,631 motor vehicle stops during 2009, a 5 percent decrease from 2008. Motorists received warnings 64 percent of the time.