“In 2012, officers and detectives focused on reducing residential burglaries through the use of traditional and innovative strategies,” said Glenn Chrisman, chief of the Murfreesboro Police Department.
He said officials stepped up efforts to prevent non-violent crimes in response to data from two years ago. In 2011, the number of burglaries rose by 3 percent and the rate of motor vehicle thefts surged by 16 percent.
And while his department is pleased with the 34 percent reduction in burglaries and 1 percent decline in motor vehicle thefts, Chrisman said officials are now faced with the task of combating a new trend involving violent offenses.
Based on data for the city of Murfreesboro, which does not include the unincorporated areas of Rutherford County, the number of reported rapes jumped from 29 to 59 in 2012 -- an increase of 103 percent.
Reports of robberies also rose, up from 125 in 2011 to 134 in 2012.
The homicide rate slightly grew as well, up from three to four in 2012. Of those four reported homicides, officials said the investigations into two of those cases have not yet been resolved and would remain a priority for detectives.
In addition, the number of incidents involving assault increased from 1,685 in 2011 to 1,869 last year, though this category of violent crime experienced less of an up tick at roughly 11 percent.
“While we are proud to report reductions in reported burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts, the increase in reported rapes, robberies and assaults is unacceptable,” Chrisman said.
In response to the increase of reported rapes, he said the Police Department would continue to offer Rape Aggression Defense classes for women at various locations throughout the city.
Although the number might be alarming for some in the community, the majority of the rape investigations involved two people who knew each other.
“Over half of the reported rapes were linked to an acquaintance,” said Sgt. Kyle Evans, public information officer for the Police Department.
In light of the recent trend, police would like to remind woman to say “no” clearly and firmly, he said.
“Be repetitive,” Evans said, “and remember that offenders look to take advantage of situations in which a potential victim’s judgment and ability to act defensively is impaired.”