NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On the same campuses where children learn their ABC’s, and where algebra racks their brains, thousands of crimes are being reported every year.
“Overall school crime has gone up 13.9 percent from 2016 to 2018,” said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Spokesman Josh DeVine.
The most recent School Crime Report from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows 28,777 crimes were reported from 2016 to 2018.
Keep in mind these are elementary, middle, and high school campuses, not colleges and universities.
“Law enforcement agencies upload these reports into whatever software they’ve purchased through whatever vendor they’ve brought on board. That data is transmitted to TBI electronically,” DeVine said. “It’s important to note agencies are legally required to participate in this program because if they don’t they risk losing state grant dollars.”
State agents have been studying this crime data for years. Simple assault has been the most frequently reported offense since 2007. Another big issue is drug and narcotics offenses.
“That can be anything that has a touchpoint with drugs – possession, sale, transfer, transmission,” DeVine said.
Those decreased from 2011-to-2013, 2012-to-2014, 2013-to-2015, and 2014-to-2016. In recent years that’s not the case. Drug cases increased significantly by almost 30 percent from 2015 to 2017. They went up again by more than 11-percent from 2016-to-2018.
“The data that fuels our school crimes study is one that we produce from the Tennesse Incident based reporting system. It’s one of the most sophisticated crime data collection programs in the country. In fact, other states will often send folks here to Tennessee to learn how we do our program like this,” DeVine said.
It’s a program also breaking down the sex, age, and race of the offenders and the victims. Most times the victims are female, and the most reported offender race is Black or African American, according to the most recent study.
“It helps school districts, communities, and parents have a really good snapshot of what’s actually occurring,” DeVine said.
It’s a snapshot with very details. For one, school crimes in the volunteer state happen most often in September, the most common day for crime is Thursday, and the most frequent time slot is between noon and 3: 00 p.m.
“For example, if you’re armed with that information maybe as a school district you’re revisiting your safety plan and saying do we need to do something different on Thursday afternoons in September given that that’s when the data shows that these types of school crimes are most likely to occur,” DeVine said.
The TBI is currently crunching the numbers for the 2019 report which will be released by this Spring with the hope that statistics change for the better just like the lives they represent.
The TBI also publishes reports on crime for college and university campuses. Click HERE to read the full reports.
News 2 digs deeper into what’s happening with all levels of crime in school and what’s being done about it. See our special reports all day this Thursday in every newscast. Click here for more.