BELLE MEADE, Tenn. (WKRN) — At any given time, there is a police officer within one-mile of crime happening in Belle Meade.
“If you take a zigzag across the city, you’re probably going to see a marked unit somewhere,” said Chief Tim Eads, Belle Meade Police Department.
He added, “We have roughly 1 officer per square-mile so that’s 3 patrol officers patrolling the city 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
With its own police department and dispatch, Belle Meade Police are able to respond, “pretty quick.”
“We are usually able to take a call immediately when it comes,” said Chief Eads.
While the crime rate is very low, with only 70 offenses reported in all of 2018, Belle Meade is not immune to crime. This small, affluent community is surrounded by Metro Nashville. When crime happens in the big city, it may roll through Belle Meade. Recently, Belle Meade installed cameras that read license plates, and that has proven to be helpful to surrounding communities.
Those LPR cameras came in handy just a few weeks ago
“A lady had left the bank and was coming home, I think it was after 8 in the evening,” said Chief Eads. What happened next was caught on one of the city’s 19 cameras.
“This is the victim as she was going home,” said Investigator Tom Sexton, as he looked at surveillance video.
The next car seen in the video was the suspects’ car. They followed the woman from a bank in Nashville to her house in Belle Meade.
“As she was getting out of the car, the vehicle stopped up on the roadway and 2 individuals with hoodies on got out and started approaching her,” said Chief Eads.
The woman’s dog started barking, she hit the car alarm and the guys took off. Frightened about what happened, she called police. Even with limited information, officers were able to make a case.
“A lot of places, that call would have just, well, we didn’t have anything to go on, it was a dark sedan,” said Chief Eads.
He added, “some agencies, it takes them a while to get to those low-priority calls because you kind of have to triage these calls on importance and fortunately, that’s a rarity here.”
With more time to investigate, Belle Meade’s investigator tracked the car and got the license plate number, which eventually helped identify the suspects.
Chief Eads says the men were linked to crimes in Murfreesboro at MTSU, in Nashville and in Hendersonville. The information provided by Belle Meade will help Hendersonville police prosecute the case.
“Inadvertently, you end up helping other agencies and sometimes, all a police officer needs is one more piece of evidence to have enough for a successful arrest and prosecution.”
In another case in January, police say a car burglary ring operating across Belle Meade, Brentwood and Nashville was stopped using surveillance video from all three police departments and license plate reader cameras in Belle Meade.
“If there’s a criminal coming through here, maybe just passing through, which is fine, but if we can interdict them and get them off the street, well maybe they were driving from downtown Nashville going to Bellevue to rob somebody and if they’re wanted, and we can intervene and get them off the street, maybe we prevented a crime from happening,” said Chief Eads.
High police presence, high-tech tools and a little bit of time, help to keep Belle Meade safe. Some departments don’t have those luxuries but Chief Eads says a major key to his city’s safety, doesn’t have to be unique to Belle Meade.
“A lot of it is, I think, good people just sticking together. You know, trying to be helpful to each other and you know if you see something that looks out of place, it probably is.”