NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)– For more than a decade, traffic stops have been on the decline in Nashville, according to data from Metro police.
However, 2023 is on track to break that trend.
There has been a 28% year to date increase in officer-initiated traffic stops so far in 2023, according to MNPD reports.
This small increase in an overall downward trend is not evenly spread across Davidson County.
Some areas, like the South Precinct, have reported a slight decrease in traffic stops.
The most significant growth was in the Central Precinct with a 127% increase. There was also a 100% increase in the Midtown Hills Precinct and an 81% increase in the North Precinct.
MNPD said there is no single change in policing protocol or strategy that has contributed to this change. However, a spokesperson said there has been an increase in their efforts to crack down on aggressive driving. Nashville’s growth has lead to more cars on the roads, which can lead to more stops.
The spokesperson emphasized MNPD is focused on only initiating traffic stops when there are moving violations or when officers see aggressive and dangerous driving.
However, any small increase concerns Gideon’s Army President Rasheedat Fetuga.
“We want to keep an eye on it because we’ve been doing a pretty good job, and we want to make sure that we don’t lose focus on where we’re going,” she said.
Fetuga’s group released a report titled “Driving While Black” in 2016, which was followed by the NYU Policing Project’s analysis of traffic stops in Nashville.
Both reports claimed traffic stops are not an effective strategy for reducing crime and Black residents were disproportionately stopped.
“It is stressful. Even when you aren’t doing anything, it is extremely stressful,” Fetuga said.
Fetuga said she has seen the efforts made by MNPD and precinct captains to reduce traffic stops, but hopes one day they are rare or nonexistent.