Campbell County ranks high for crime in Tennessee

Campbell County ranks high for crime in Tennessee

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By ANN KEIL
6 News Reporter

LAFOLLETTE (WATE) - Recent crime rate statistics in Tennessee are drawing the attention of Campbell County officials. Some of the county's crime statistics are comparable to those in larger, metropolitan areas.

"We've got to do something because we're concerned about our children," says Phyllis Clingner, family services program development manager for Community Health of East Tennessee, a Campbell County-based non-profit.

"We're very sad that that's taking place in Campbell County," says Campbell County Deputy Mayor Ann Ayers.

Statistics on child abuse and domestic violence are particularly high.

"One of our detectives is totally devoted to nothing but the domestic situation," says LaFollette Police Chief James Lynch.

One third of the calls that come into the LaFollette 911 call center are domestic related.

Community Health of East Tennessee has provided programs to the community for years, and now it's teamed up with local and state agencies.

Still, the crime statistics are comparable to those in some larger metropolitan areas in Tennessee.

"I think a lot of it has to do with economics and unemployment," Clingner says.

"You have a larger population that did not complete college. Some did not complete high school," Lynch says.

The county invested in a Department of Justice Program called Weed and Seed one year ago, but officials were never awarded the grant money that goes with it that would fund prevention programs or training.

Clingner says there's another problem, but they're working on it. "People have this 'turfdom' issue, and they don't want to let go of that very easily."

Still, she says they've made progress. County and city officials are communicating more, and they're seeking out available funding to make a dent in the crime numbers.

One concern is how the crime rate could impact new economic opportunities in the future. "That's why we're working on it every day. We don't want to take any chances," Ayers says.

She says the Weed and Seed program is being phased out.

The announcement of a replacement program is expected in July, and county officials say they'll apply for it.

The 2009 crime statistics for Campbell County and other counties across the state were released recently by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Shelby County, which includes Memphis, has the highest crime rate in the state at nearly 152 crimes per 1,000 people.

Next is Madison County with about 143 crimes per 1,000 people.

Third is Davidson County, which includes Nashville, with 138 crimes per 1,000 people.

Fourth is rural Campbell County, with 122 crimes being committed for every 1,000 people.

Campbell County ranks higher even than Knox County with a crime rate of just 82.

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