NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — No matter the crime, nearly every type has spiked in the last year in downtown.
That includes rapes, robberies, and break-ins. Metro police and people who work downtown know it’s a problem.
“It does not slow down,” said Commander Gordon Howey of Central Precinct with Metro.
While violent crime dropped in most of Nashville, it jumped more than 35% downtown. Robberies, like the one where three bystanders were held up by gunpoint, spiked nearly 3%.
“Unfortunately, there are people that take the opportunity to prey on folks and crowded settings. It makes it a pretty easy target,” said Commander Howey.
“If you look at neighboring parking garages, stairwells, elevators, there’s a lot of stories people waiting to prey on innocent and surprised victims,” said Sean Marshall.
Marshall knows the stories because he helps run special events at several popular honky-tonks on Broadway.
The targets aren’t only people.
“We’ve been burglarized at our bars, mainly in after hours of people breaking in or just sort of rummaging through our back areas outside of our building,” explained Marshall.
One of the bars is Tootsies. A liquor thief hit at least three times this fall. Across downtown, commercial break-ins are up nearly 60% compared to last year.
Marshall says the biggest issue is not enough police downtown.
“We’re the biggest proponents and fans of the police, and frankly we just need more of them. I’m a broken record when I say that,” he said.
Metro police don’t disagree.
“A bigger picture item, we’re down in staffing currently we need more,” said Commander Howey.
While the crime wave isn’t scaring the crowds, for now, we’ll have to wait and see if something is done before it’s too late.
“The warning signs are there. I think it’s time to act now. If we don’t do anything now, it’s going to get worse,” said Marshall.
“Just be careful. It is safe,” added Commander Howey.