NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Firearms are being stolen by the hundreds. A spree of juvenile burglaries has led to a spree of armed juveniles, committing crimes across the area.
“They don’t just travel to all parts of Nashville,” noted Lt. Blaine Whited, with the Juvenile Crime Task Force. “They’re coming to a city near you outside of Nashville, they’re going outside of the county.”
The task force was created early last year, to stymie the steady trend of violent youth crime.
“We have a different culture amongst our youth,” noted Lt. Whited.
According to the Task Force, through the end of August this year, 161 juveniles have been arrested, ranging in ages from 17-12 years old.
When it comes to the violent crime, the fuel to the fire Metro police say are stolen guns and stolen cars.
Supply is ample across the Metro. Through August this year alone, 137 firearms have been confiscated.
“We’re gonna have to figure out the root of this problem,” said Lt. Whited. “Unfortunately it’s not something we can arrest our way out of.”
This is where community activists step in, like Bishop Marcus Campbell with Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.
Campbell’s Gentleman and Not Gangster’s initiation took place last week, a 12-week-program for at-risk youth.
The youth were asked to draw their name from a casket, one by one.
“We are partnered with juvenile court, they’ll send us young men who are on probation,” said Campbell. “We understand that a lot of our youth are lining up, being killed out here. So tonight we’re praying they’ll make a decision tonight to not wind up in the box.”
Through his chat’s with today’s youth, Campbell says the gun trend stems in part from gang violence.
He tells News 2 some teens feel a need to arm themselves, doing whatever’s necessary to acquire one.
“They’re being pressured to do some things, deal with some things that we didn’t have to deal with,” he said. “They shouldn’t have to deal with this that at their age, but that’s where we are.”
There is progress being made through the juvenile crime front.
Metro numbers from early September, show juvenile arrests are actually down 35% from the same time last year.
Campbell and Whited are now calling on the community to stop the supply of firearms, and lock those car doors.
“They’re putting them on the street faster than we can get them back,” said Lt. Whited. “And that’s a problem.”
News 2 digs deeper into the disturbing trend of stolen guns, the impact on the area and the effect on crime rates. Watch our special reports “Guns of Nashville” all day Thursday in every newscast. Plus, stay tuned for a half-hour special Sunday, September 22 at 4:30 p.m. Click here for more.