KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Police Department released their preliminary crime numbers for the first quarter of 2023.

The report showing crime across the board is trending in the right direction.

“You know murders are down right now 30% and all of our violent crime categories except for assaults are down double digits,” Chief Paul Noel with the Knoxville Police Department said. “We are very early in the year so we want to see that continue.”

Noel credited the re-organization of their districts as one of the reasons crime numbers have gone down.

“We had two districts that we expanded to three, but more importantly that put more police officers on the street by taking some of the centralized functions that were centralized across the city, put them under the command of our district captains and really try to engage with the members of the community to problem solve at the lowest level,” Noel said.

The department’s number one focus is violent crimes according to Noel.

“We are engaging with the community, we are problem-solving,  and we are laser-focused in getting violent criminals off the street,” Noel said.

Community engagement is another factor that has slowed down crime according to both Noel and Denzel Grant with Turn Up Know. This is a program focused on stopping gun violence. Grant is not surprised with the KPD report.

“Collaborating together, communicating with our city government to try and figure out a solution and I think over the last 8 months all those things have meshed together and kind of given us the results we have has this far,” said Grant.

As warmer weather is in the near future, the chief hopes the numbers continue to trend down.

“During the spring and summer when things warm up is homeless population will come out in greater number downtown, so our central district is really lasered focused on working with the shelters and the other non-governmental entities to try and steer them in the shelters and get them the help they need,” Noel said. “We are not going to tolerate quality of life violations at all.”

Noel added they are actively recruiting officers to keep up with the city’s growth.