NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Crime is on the rise at college campuses across the state of Tennessee, according to an annual report from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
From 2021 to 2022, crime on campus increased by 26.28%.
“It is concerning to see those numbers rise,” said Maj. Jason Morton.
Morton has spent the last 27 years working for the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Police Department.
“We’re here for the students, and we need to work with them to kind of help make MTSU, as a whole, safer,” he said.
This year’s ‘Crime on Campus’ report shows theft is also on the rise on campuses since 2021 by 20.51%.
“The thefts that we typically see reported are crimes of opportunity,” said Morton.
Those offenses are not only happening at MTSU, but also at Tennessee State University (TSU).
“We’ve had opportunities where a student or someone in our community may have left their iPad sitting down and they go somewhere, and they come back and it’s gone,” said Chief Gregory Robinson of TSU Police.
Assaults are also increasing on campuses, something Robinson said can be defined in multiple ways.
“From intimidation…those are listed as assaults as well, so when people see assaults, they think it’s a physical attack. That’s not always the case,” he said.
While the report shows many categories of crime increased from 2021 to 2022, overall many of the numbers are down since 2019.
“Actually, it becomes more of a safer environment because they’re reporting these instances and because they are reporting us, they feel more comfortable making us aware of these things. Then we are able to do more intervention,” said Robinson.
Both police departments want to make sure their presence is known around their campuses so students feel comfortable reporting any type of crime.
“We encourage people if something happens then they need to let us know,” said Morton. “That helps us try to address it in the future and hopefully prevent it.”
The report also showed more crimes are reported when the fall semester begins, which both police departments agreed with.
They also feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic also play a role in these numbers since more students are returning to campus.
You can read the full report here