Broadway compared to ‘alcoholic theme park’; What needs to change

Broadway in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s no shortage of headlines that highlight exactly what’s happening on Lower Broadway in Nashville. From a security guard being attacked to nearly 200 calls for service in one weekend, the troubling trend of violent crimes has caught the attention of Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake.

“I love this city. I’ve been here all my life, and I don’t want to see places where people enjoy to go become places they’re scared to go,” said Chief Drake.

Like the police chief, attorney Gary Blackburn has also lived through the transformation. “Who could have anticipated that Lower Broad would become an alcoholic theme park?” Blackburn asked rhetorically.

News 2 worked with Metro Police to explore crime in one area of Lower Broadway. The chart breaks down the number of calls for service pre-COVID in 2019, during the pandemic of 2020, and calls this year through August 16th.

Stabbing, shootings, and shots fired calls are higher in 2021 than in years past, even with COVID restrictions only being lifted in May.

“I feel that part of what’s going on is a resourcing problem. We need more officers, and we’re trying to recruit more,” said Chief Drake.

That’s just one challenge facing the police chief. He’s met with local establishments and more security cameras have been installed, but he knows more needs to happen.

“I’ve been asking for license plate readers for quite some time. It would be beneficial for us for people committing gun violence to be able to record a car tag of an individual that may have just shot someone, so know we have a vehicle we can identify.”

Chief Drake has other ideas too, but without funding and resources, it’s hard to make them a reality.

And, Blackburn agrees, “We need to give them their resources to do this work.”

Broadway Out of Bounds
From crime concerns to calls for regulation involving ‘transpotainment’ vehicles – News 2 investigates what’s being done to keep you safe on Broadway. Find more Broadway Out of Bounds special reports here.

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