NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Robberies, assaults, and homicides are a few types of crimes Nashville sees often, but where in the city these crimes happen could determine their likelihood of being solved.
In order for police to “clear” a case, officers need to either make an arrest, issue a warrant on a suspect, or another factor out of their control needs to happen, like the death of a suspect.
Metro police’s clearance rates vary greatly depending on the precinct, according to data compiled by the Community Oversight Board. Officers’ case loads could be to blame.
“In general, we see that as average case load is increasing for precincts, the clearance rates are decreasing, so some precincts, you can look at their investigative unit and see some have really, really low clearance rates, and some have really, really high clearance rates,” Gavin Crowell-Williamson, the lead research analyst for the Community Oversight Board said.
The higher the officers’ case loads, the lower the clearance rate, and vise versa, according to the data from the Community Oversight Board.
For example, Midtown precinct investigative officers have one of the highest case loads in the department with around 146 cases per officer. The precinct’s clearance rate in 2021 was less than 7%.
In Madison, each investigative officer has around 61 cases each, while the precinct’s clearance rate was 20% in 2021.
While some officers juggle more cases than others, it could have a negative effect on crime victims.
“Whenever crime goes unsolved for the victim, it feels as if what has happened to them is less significant and it feels like people don’t necessarily care about their experiences,” Valerie Craig, co-founder of Tennessee Voices for Victims said.
Crowell-Williamson told News 2 he believes Metro police could benefit by assessing how the department allocates its officers within each precinct, because some precincts have more patrol officers than investigative units compared to others.
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“I think other police departments have done workload or staffing analysis, which have been really beneficial to understand how patrol officers are being distributed, how specialized units are being used, and I think that’s something that would be really beneficial for Nashville,” Crowell-Williamson said.
To read all the data, click here.