There’s good news in Tennessee. A study by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigative Study (TBI) of elementary and secondary schools (not colleges) for 2020 showed that crime in schools is dropping.
- 24,403 crimes were reported by Tennessee law enforcement agencies – between 2018 and 2020.
- 8,000 incidents were reported at Tennessee primary and secondary schools between March and December 2019.
- Only 2,000 incidents were reported for those same months for 2020.
- The number of reported offenses decreased from 2018 to 2020 by 59%.
- The decrease is likely due to the impact COVID-19 has had on primary and secondary schools.
- The most reported crimes were simple assault and drug/narcotic use.
Additional school crime reduction statistics
According to Mt. Juliet High School Resource Officer Eric Gray, the drop in crime rate is “massive.” Officer Gray says that COVID-19 helped reduce the number of crimes because the disease limited the interactions between students. Gray added the following arrest statistics to the good crime news:
- In the 2018-2019 school year, 224 people were arrested.
- In the 2019-2020 school year, 2,020 people were arrested.
- In the 2020-2021 school year, to the date of the report, only 11 people have been arrested.
Gray said the drop in crime rate may be countered by increased crime activity outside of school property. Gray also added as Tennessee schools are returning to normal, he’s seen “a small uptick in discipline and other issues, but what we’ve noticed is they appear to be much better mentally.” The officer added that keeping the students busy in extracurricular activities helps reduce crime incidents.
The TBI established a toll-free school violence hotline at 1-800-824-3463. The hotline is open 24/7.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, our Sevierville criminal defense lawyers advocate for juveniles and adults. In juvenile cases, we work to keep the case in juvenile court and to develop a coordinated plan to address the underlying reasons why a student may get into trouble. When children are tried as adults, or adults are charged with criminal offenses, our Sevierville defense lawyers fight to obtain acquittals and to negotiate just plea bargains. For experienced advice on school crimes, call us at (865) 428-8780 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent criminal defendants – in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding Tennessee areas.