Tennessee is the 16th largest state in the U.S. by population and is home to approximately 6.6 million people. Clarksville, Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville are the largest cities and while it may seem likely that the incidences of crime would be higher in the more populated areas, this is not always the case. Tennessee, overall, has experienced a reduction in many types of crime as of 2015.
The statistics are compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) based upon reports sent by the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). This system allows data to be aggregated and patterns to be analyzed. It is used to show how effective particular policies and procedures are, and indicates areas of concern. Crimes in Tennessee are delineated by category: Class A and Class B. Class A crimes are those that are of a more violent nature, and include assault, vandalism, murder, human trafficking and weapons violations, among others. Class B crimes are of a nonviolent nature and can include DUI, trespassing, bad checks, vandalism, theft, disorderly conduct and so forth. The following offers information for those interested in learning more about the potential for crime in the state, and how safe it is to live in Tennessee.
Overview of Crime in Tennessee
Tennessee experiences more Class B crimes than Class A crimes. Violent crimes, per 1,000 residents, is at an average of six. That means that most of the criminal activity that is occurring in the state is of a nonviolent nature and involves theft. The chances of being a victim of a violent crime is 1 in 163. When viewing the numbers presented in the FBI report, it is important to remember that all crimes are considered together, so a murder occurring and the theft of an automobile are all included in the overall crime report. This means that when viewing the data, a reader should bear in mind that while crime might show an increase, it may only be an increase in property theft, and not murder. Overall, Tennessee statistics indicate a decrease in crime in nearly all areas, as compared to previous years. In years past, Tennessee had the dubious distinction of having higher than the national average when it came to violent crimes, by 66.35 percent, and the property crime rate was above the national average by 17.91 percent.
Group A Offenses
Aggravated assault rates in Tennessee were 7.9 percent lower in 2013, which may indicate a downward trend that will continue. Most of the violent crimes in Tennessee were related to aggravated assaults, and may partially be blamed on low educational attainment and high poverty. As of 2013, approximately 18 percent of the population lived in an impoverished situation. According to Tennessee’s Bureau of Investigation (TBI), nearly 80 percent of the crimes have some connection to drugs. The state’s statutory rape crimes dropped by 13.4 percent since 2014.
Currently, the largest number of crimes reported by the TBI are in the categories of simple assault (84,523 cases), destruction of property/vandalism (52,536 cases) and drug violations (54,445 cases). Simple assault numbers indicate a decrease by 2.3 percent as of 2015. A grand total of 528,894 Class A offenses happened in 2015, which is a 2.1 percent drop from the previous year. Group A arrests are down 6.8 percent when compared from year to year, which indicates a two percent decrease in crime victims.
Group B Offenses
The majority of the crimes in Tennessee seem to be in the category of theft. The TBI breaks down theft into many categories, including robbery, computer hacking, identity theft, wire fraud, pick pocketing/purse snatching, shoplifting, theft from a building, coin machine or car, theft of a car, and other. All of these combined total to approximately 166,024 cases for 2017 thus far.
Safest Places to Live in Tennessee
Despite what the numbers may suggest, Tennessee is still a fairly safe place to live. Many of the smaller towns and cities have crime statistics that are almost 82 percent lower than others in the state. The following cities offer extremely low crime rates in the state of Tennessee.
Located southwest of Knoxville, Loudon experienced only five Class A crimes and only 47 Class B crimes for the year. The population is just a little over 5,000 people, and is host to the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture.
Signal Mountain, Tennessee
Located near Chattanooga, Signal Mountain has the least number of property crimes in the state. A mountainous area, Signal Mountain has a population of approximately 7,000 people.
Just south of Nashville, this town has a fairly large population at nearly 40,000. Despite its size, it reports the fewest Class A crimes than cities of a similar size. Many of the people who live there work in Nashville.