Sheriff Robert Arnold unloads a lawnmower he and Detective Steve Brown, right, and other detectives recovered in October in Illinois. About $200,000 worth of equipment was recovered after being stolen in Rutherford and surrounding counties.
Crime dramatically dropped by 20 percent in Rutherford County from 2012-2013 while Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives cleared 43 percent of all reported crimes, said Sheriff Robert Arnold.
The crime figures are based on reports sent by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The crime reflects the unincorporated areas served by the Sheriff’s Office.
“While crime may increase in the state of Tennessee, we are proud to report that crime in the unincorporated areas of Rutherford County is down 20 percent,” Sheriff Arnold said.
Overall crime dropped from 4,036 in 2012 to 3,202 in 2014.
“I think it’s a combined effort with citizens keeping their eyes on their property and other property and working with the Sheriff’s Office,” Arnold said. “We’ve worked very hard to build bridges with the community. It seems like our efforts are paying off.”
Of the crimes reported, 43. percent were cleared in 2013.
“The clearance rate has almost doubled in the last four years from 28 percent in 2010,” Arnold said. “Detectives are aggressively investigating and solving crimes. We are also working with other agencies to put the puzzle pieces together in multiple jurisdictions and to solve crimes.”
Both detectives and patrol deputies are undergoing advanced training to better investigate and solve complicated cases.
Lt. Todd Sparks of the Criminal Investigations Division said assigned crimes are up about 9 percent. Detectives recovered $647,889 worth of stolen property in 2013.
Two people were victims of homicide in 2013. One homicide was cleared while detectives are investigating the second murder.
Other major crimes reported in 2014 as compared to 2013 include:
• Kidnapping, abduction 7, up by 2.
• Rape 15, up by 3.
• Aggravated assault, 225, up by 8.
• Robbery, 10, down by 4.
• Arson, 6, up by 3.
• Burglary, 329, down by 91.
• Motor vehicle theft, 82, down by 24.
• Theft, 722, down by 104.
• Domestic violence, 630, down by 36.
Sheriff Arnold believes the reduction in property crimes like burglary may be credited to a change in patrol shifts from 10 hours to 12 hours per day, giving citizens more deputies on patrol.
Since taking office, Sheriff Arnold implemented the Anti-Crime Enforcement Unit and the Crime Analysis Unit who work together to reduce crimes. ACE deputies assigned to the unit patrol in high crime areas as pinpointed by the weekly crime mapping analysis. The ACE Unit prevents thefts and other crimes within the communities.
Patrol supervisors working on the roads put more officers patrolling in the unincorporated areas of the county to bring more visibility to neighborhoods.
“I’ve heard positive responses from citizens who see patrolling more in neighborhoods than we ever did before,” Arnold said.
Also, the Sheriff’s Office partners with citizen Neighborhood Watch groups to serve as the “eyes and ears” to report suspicious events in their communities to prevent crimes from happening.
Another major crime category is domestic violence that showed a decrease of 36 cases from 2012.
“We have a fulltime domestic violence detective who is paid from a grant to investigate domestic violence, harassment, stalking and sexual offenses,” Arnold said.
He is one of seven detectives in the Family Crimes unit who are dedicated to helping prevent domestic violence and assisting the victims to obtain orders of protection. The unit does an excellent job in monitoring convicted sex offenders who live in the county.
“I am proud to introduce Offender Watch, the first for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and the state of Tennessee,” Sheriff Arnold said. “The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is working off our model to perhaps bring this model to the state.”
The Offender Watch Web site at http://www.sheriffalerts.com/cap_main.php?office=55531 allows citizens to identify registered sex offenders and where they live. The Web site includes several hundred sex offenders who live in the county along with the names, photographs and addresses of the 88 sex offenders supervised by Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
Citizens may search for offenders within the area of any address and by name. Another feature of the Web site is that citizens may sign up for free automatic email notifications if a sex offender moves in the neighborhood.
“I’m very proud and thankful of every employee at the Sheriff’s office for the dedication and work ethic for the citizens of Rutherford County,” Arnold said.
Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office 2013 STATS:
• Booked in 15,662 inmates at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center.
• Served 19,530 civil warrants, including civil lawsuits, wage garnishments, evictions, repossessions and child support orders.
• Served 13,280 criminal warrants.
• Captured 197 suspects on the Most Wanted list.
• Answered 25.302 9-11 emergency calls.
• Screened 241,710 people in the Judicial Building and Juvenile Detention Center.
• Filed 12,413 crime, arrest and crash reports and citations.