NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Week after week, residents are seeing serious crimes being committed in their own community, and the Metro Nashville Police Department is taking note.

“We want to be progressive and innovative and adapt to what we need to do to be able to solve crimes,” said Captain Charles Beasley, who will lead the division unit.

On Wednesday, the department officially launched its Violent Crimes Division within the Community Services Bureau to investigate carjackings armed robberies and other violent incidents that are part of a series of crimes.

SPECIAL ROBBERY INITIATIVE

The new unit began as a temporary model back in late August. During that time, the Special Robbery Initiative made a total of 75 arrests related to robbery investigations.

“We’ve been able to recover 32 handguns. We’ve been able to recover 60 plus vehicles and make 75 arrests. So, we would like to continue on that, but using precision policing to do that,” said Captain Beasley.

Captain Beasley said it’s all about tracking the patterns. Last week, MNPD reported 26 guns were stolen from cars and trucks. So far this year, 1,140 guns have been stolen from vehicles in Nashville. More than 70% of all guns reported stolen in 2021 were taken from vehicles, according to Metro police.

“Precision policing is one of the three key pillars of our police department, in addition to organizational excellence and community engagement,” Chief John Drake said. “The new Violent Crimes Division will take a precision county-wide approach to identify and arrest those persons in our community whose acts of violence pose real threats to the safety of Nashvillians and businesses.”

Just like guns taken from vehicles, these stolen firearms are often used in other crimes, including carjackings and robberies.

“Guns being taken out of vehicles and some of these guns are showing up in violent crimes, so what we are trying to do is identify the cars and get them back quickly, and identify guns and take those guns off the street that are potentially stolen out of those vehicles,” explained Captain Beasley.

PARTNERING WITH MDHA

Part of the new division will be a Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency Engagement Section, consisting of two teams of five officers each — two sergeants and a lieutenant. The group will work to build trust and develop compassionate connections within Nashville’s public housing communities.

“When they’re able to come forward and feel free enough to be able to call up and say hey this individual is causing harm in the community, then they’ve bought in, and they are providing information,” explained Captain Beasley.

Captain Beasley told News 2, he knows that oftentimes there is a barrier between police and the public, and in order to establish trust, changes have to be made. The goals of the MDHA Engagement Section are to cut down on crime, increase the quality of life and form meaningful relationships with residents.

“We’ve gone in and identified 138 lights that were out in the community and working with NES over a two-day span we were able to get a majority of those back up and running and that’s just a small thing to make people feel a little bit safer in their community,” said Captain Beasley, highlighting an initiative that had already been performed.

Another program Captain Beasley said he is proud of is community events where families are able to gather with Metro Police Officers and watch movies together.

He explained the purpose is to allow potential victims to feel safe and comfortable enough to report when crimes are committed.