NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Lawmakers in Tennessee over the past year have constantly cited high juvenile crime numbers as a reason for reform. But arrest data shows a different story.

In fact, throughout the state, juvenile crime arrests have been down by nearly 50% since 2012, according to the TBI.

Diving deeper, Shelby County has followed that same trend, though Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton has long held that crime is up.

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“The amount of people that I met with who said juvenile crime is on the rise, and it’s a problem, is astronomical,” he said.

So why is there a breakdown between numbers and what Sexton says is reality? It depends on who you ask.

Memphis lawmakers actually point to constant news coverage as a clear reason.

“We are being bombarded with news of juvenile crime every day,” Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) said.

When reporters asked Sexton if he had any real, data-driven evidence that juvenile crime was increasing as opposed to anecdotal evidence, he said the anecdotes were factual.

“Anecdotal, when you talk to every resident in Memphis and business owner, I don’t think is anecdotal,” he said. “I think that comes back to me as factual.”

When News 2 followed up with Sexton’s staff, they sent charts of crime data and said the number of arrests in Shelby County isn’t correlating with the number of crimes actually happening.

In response, Sexton has floated the idea of impeaching Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy while also pushing legislation to send juveniles to adult prisons. Both of which are ideas Democrats have come out against.

“They’re not born saying, ‘I want to be a felon.’ They’re little babies, all little babies, for the most part, at the like,” Parkinson said. “They do the same thing at 1 that they do at 2 no matter where the child is in the world, honestly.”

Instead, Parkinson said he’d like to see investments in programming to steer children away from crime when they get older.

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Mulroy did say in a press conference Tuesday that he was concerned about juvenile crime numbers and also didn’t believe Sexton’s impeachment comments held any weight.

Previously, he has said he does not support Sexton’s blended sentencing concept to send juveniles to adult prisons.