KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Violent crimes continue to be an issue in Knoxville. So much so that city leaders have created a Community-Base Violence Reduction Plan.
City of Knoxville leaders said they’ve made some progress but there’s still a lot to be done to cut down on violent crimes.
“This is about people. This is about people whose lives are affected by violence and people who have lost loved ones to violence,” said Mayor Indya Kincannon.
In 2022, 35 people died in the City of Knoxville from violent crimes. That number is slightly lower than that of 2020 and 2021 which had 37 and 41 homicides respectively according to the city’s Community-Based Violence Reduction Plan.
However, city leaders say more needs to be done to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place.
“The city is actually experiencing a significant reduction of shootings today which is awesome, but we want that sustained and we want that to continue to reduce,” said Executive Director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, David Muhammad.
As part of the city’s Community-Based Violence Reduction Plan, the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform will collect data and identify areas that need the most intervention.
“Doing this work is challenging and difficult. So we’ll be working with Turn Up Knox and several other organizations on what is the most effective way to engage a young person who is searching to retaliate from the shooting of his friend who was shot last month,” said Muhammad.
Police Chief Paul Noel said they’re already working to be more proactive rather than reactive.
“We’re doing community walks on a regular basis. We’re engaging with people, so that’s what we’re doing now. Not only are we engaging the most violent individuals in our community, we’re making sure that our police officers are in the right places at the right times and are connecting with the community, building that trust,” he explained.
Kincannon added that violent crimes can be related to many other issues and this is one of many steps in helping to create a better and safer community.
“Intervention stops the bleeding and then you can address the more systemic issues such as poverty and lack of opportunity and so forth,” she explained. “So poverty is a big issue and our whole community needs to be addressing that, but this is about stopping the bleeding and saving lives.”
According to Kincannon, the average age of those committing and becoming a victim of a violent crime in Knoxville is 28, which is the age group they will be focusing their research on.
The goal is to see a 10% reduction in violent crimes in the next year.
The National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform is a nonprofit organization that has worked with cities such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, Boston, Massachusetts, and Oakland, California.