NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Charges against juveniles for crimes in Metro Nashville went down in 2020 when compared to the previous year, according to the Davidson County Juvenile Court. That’s despite crimes like homicides increasing in Nashville and other U.S. cities.
“One of the major things that I think made a difference in the pandemic and what we normally see is that you did find that because of restrictions on who could go out and where they could go, you found out that more parents were at home and more parents had the ability to be with their children all day every day,” said Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway. “Being the mother of a 17-year-old, there were some days I thought, ‘oh I wish they could go to school today.’ However, it did give us an opportunity to spend more time together.”
According to the Davidson County Juvenile Court, there were 16 homicide charges for juveniles in 2019 and that number went down to 5 in 2020. Charges for assault – aggravated and especially aggravated went down by 34%, aggravated robbery down 60%, especially aggravated robbery down 90% and the only increase happened for aggravated burglaries at 5%.
“Parent support for our youth makes a difference. We know there are so many studies that talk about youth who are in a safe, structured, loving, nurturing space with parents or parent-like guardians, tend to do better in the community. They tend to not go out and commit crimes. They don’t end up in the criminal justice system,” Judge Calloway said. “So what the pandemic has proven, what all the studies have proven before is that when our youth are home with their parents or with their guardians, with the people who love them, and are able to spend that time with them, then they can be successful and there’s no need for them to be out in the community committing crimes.”
Judge Calloway also credited community organizations that work to keep teens out of trouble.
“There’s also so many community-based organizations that have continued their positive work with our youth, even virtually. And so a lot of the programs that we worked with over the years were able to continue their work such as the Oasis program, The Real Program, Be About Change, FIND Design, Bishop Campbell and the GANG program, the programs did not stop when the pandemic came about,” Calloway said.
She said this was the silver lining throughout all the challenges of the pandemic as they work to continue the downward trend for serious crimes being committed by young people.
According to the Metro Nashville Police Department, the amount of juvenile victims decreased by 23.4% between April 2019 and April 2021.