MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – More traffic and more buildings, both follow more people in their move to Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s fastest-growing major city.
But something else follows this kind of progress, something unwanted.
“One of the problems is, you’re going to have an influx in crime,” says Murfreesboro Police Detective, Sergeant Tommy Massey. “That’s just the nature of the growing pains of a city.”
The city has seen seven homicides in 2019, down three from this point last year. Concerning of course, but nowhere near as common as another type of crime.
Car burglaries, car thefts; property crimes, in general, remain a major focus for police. Suspects hunt for unlocked doors, the guns in these cars and the keys to drive them away.
“Golly, 20 years ago that was unreal, you barely had stolen cars,” Massey says.
Today is different. In 2017, year to date, the city reported 211 stolen vehicles. In 2018, 238, and in 2019 there have been 209 cars stolen. Add to that, officers have tracked nearly 650 car burglaries this year.
In 20 years the city has added around 100-thousand people. According to Massey, when that happens you’re bound to see an increase in crime and it’s coming from juveniles.
“In some cases we’re being held hostage by some of these kids that are just roaming around, committing crimes.”
They hit greenways and college campuses, hotel parking lots and cars near interstates. Police respond to it by adding officers.
“We also saturate with more patrols to try and see if we can stop people late at night that don’t belong in those areas, especially juveniles,” Massey says.
There’s also a heavy campaign to inform the public through social media. The department uses sites like Facebook to communicate simple reminders, like locking car doors. It seems little, but it cuts down on crime.
“We want to catch these folks,” he says. “We don’t want our citizens being the victims of crime.”
Officers are out there, and up to the challenge. Investigators recently arrested a group of kids responsible for 150 car break-ins. And one of those suspects had a history.
“He admitted to stealing somewhere between seven to 10 (vehicles) but the problem is, he has stolen so many he couldn’t even recall,” says Massey.
Crimes will happen, they don’t go away overnight, and people will still try to commit them. But police will try too, to ensure Murfreesboro can adapt to the change.
“You know we have the anomalies of crime like any growing city,” says Massey. “But by and large it is a safe town to live in.”
News 2 has special reports on “Murfreesboro: The Good, The Bad, The Future” on Thursday. We’re digging deeper into the impact of the area’s growth and how it is shaping future businesses, traffic, schools, and crime. See our special reports in every newscast and watch our live town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Click here for more.