Coronavirus in Tennessee: Crime stats released by TBI show impact of COVID-19 pandemic

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released preliminary crime trend data for January – March compared to that of last year that illustrated the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the volume of crimes committed across the state.

In a nutshell, crime incidents such as burglary, domestic violence, theft and violent crimes have decreased compared to this time last year with the exception of a few specific facets: Public and convenience/liquor store burglaries, and crimes involving firearms.

The data was collected through TBI’s Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS), which is a system that compiles incidents submitted by the state’s local law enforcement agencies.

“We are thankful to the state’s law enforcement agencies for prioritizing these data submissions,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “This snapshot helps all stakeholders have a better idea of how the pandemic has impacted public safety. I join all of my law enforcement colleagues in reminding the public all of our agencies are here to help during this, and every, emergency.”

The preliminary statistics, which are subject to change as agencies investigate the reported incidents further, revealed the following:

  • Comparing January through March of 2019 and 2020, reported instances of burglary decreased by approximately 17%.
    • Burglaries reported as having occurred in a home decreased approximately 20%, while those reported in many public places increased, including convenience stores (up more than 15% year-to-year), liquor stores (up approximately 53%), and department/discount stores (up more than 15%).
  • Crimes reported as having a domestic violence nexus decreased by approximately 4% percent comparing the same time periods.
  • The combined number of reported thefts and crimes designated as violent in nature decreased by more than 5%. However, the number of those crimes involving a firearm increased by more than 3%.

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