Sheriff: County sees modest drop in crime

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Dispatcher Kim Moyer Rydel monitors the status of various 9-1-1 calls on Feb. 29, 2012, inside the Communications Division at the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/M. Kemph)

No one lost their life to murder in 2012 within unincorporated Rutherford County as overall crime dropped 1 percent for the year, said Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold.

“We are pleased no one died from a violent murder last year,” Arnold said. “And we are pleased crime decreased overall, especially with murders, rapes, burglaries and thefts. With a partnership with citizens, we hope to reduce crime even more this year.”

In 2011, crime increased 26 percent primarily due to a sharp increase in assaults. Crime data for the county does not include statistics from Murfreesboro, Smyrna or La Vergne.

The Sheriff’s Office released its 2012 crime statistics this week showing crime dropped from 3,755 reports in 2011 to 3,720 reports in 2012 in the major categories for a 1 percent drop.

Decreases occurred in the categories of homicide, rape – including all sexual offense reports – burglaries and thefts. Robberies, assaults, motor vehicle thefts and arsons increased.

“I believe burglaries and thefts dropped because of our visibility with patrol officers, who drove almost million miles,” Arnold said. “With the help of citizens, we continuously strive to reduce crime and make Rutherford County safer.”

Of the reported crimes, detectives investigated 2,437 crimes and cleared 1,552 cases with 294 arrests.

Lt. Todd Sparks of the Criminal Investigations Division attributed the rise in some categories to decline of the economy.

“People look for money to support their drug habits or families during a bad economy,” Sparks said. “I believe the overall economic decline in the country affects people’s desperation levels. They will do what they can to support their family.”

Also, financial concerns may affect the stability of a home and act as a stress in domestic disputes and assaults, he said. Drug addictions may force people to commit crimes to support their habits.

In property crimes, motor vehicle thefts rose from 119 in 2011 to 165 in 2012.

“Many stolen vehicles are cashed in for scrap,” Sparks said. “We’ve recovered a lot of vehicles in scrap yards. The economy is causing people to look for alterative sources of money.”

Burglaries dropped significantly from 498 reports in 2011 to 394 reports in 2012.

Capt. Egon Grissom said he believes deputies patrolling in neighborhoods prevented burglars from breaking into homes.

“You can’t gauge how many crimes you deter by being visible,” Grissom said.

Citizens help reduce the crime by calling the Sheriff’s Office when they see suspicious activity in a neighborhood. Deputies respond and often find burglars preparing to break into a house or entering a home and make an arrest, he said.

The arrests happen because vigilant citizens give information quickly, he said.

Arnold said his office depends on citizens to provide information about crimes and suspects.

Rutherford County Sheriff's Office
2012 Crime Data

- 40,379 calls deputies answered for service
- 9,603 arrests
- 15,554 reports
- 1,063 traffic crashes
- 4,990 traffic citations
- 1,840 motorist assists

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Crime, Egon Grissom, Public Safety, RCSO, Robert Arnold, Rutherford County, Todd Sparks
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