By mtjulietintern

The total number of reported crimes in Tennessee rose slightly from 2015-2016, while decreasing slightly in Wilson County, according to data released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The TBI released its annual crime reporting data Thursday, with information reported from every law enforcement agency throughout the state during 2016.

According to data reported by the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon Police Department, Mt. Juliet Police Department and law enforcement at Cumberland University and Cedars of Lebanon State Park, the crime rate countywide was similar in 2015 and 2016, with a lower amount of reported violent crimes in 2016.

In 2016, the number of reported murders decreased from six countywide in 2015 to just one in 2016. The number of reported forcible rape incidents slightly declined from 21 to 18.

In 2016, a total of 6,531 offenses of all types were reported in Wilson County throughout the reporting agencies. Of those reported offenses, 2,992 were cleared, or about 45.8 percent.

Last year shows a slight decline in total offenses compared to 2015, when a total of 6,622 offenses were reported. In 2015, 3,046 of the total offenses, or 46 percent, were cleared.

Statewide, the number of reported crimes slightly increased, according to the TBI report.

From 2015 to 2016, reported murders increased 11.6 percent. Reported forcible rape offenses decreased by 2.8 percent in that same time period. 

Drug and narcotic offenses increased by 9.5 percent statewide in 2016. In Wilson County, drug and narcotic offenses increased from 770 drug violations and 340 drug equipment violations in 2015 to 807 drug violations and 439 drug equipment violations in 2016.

The number of people arrested in connection to reported crimes statewide decreased by 1.9 percent in 2016.

Of the total offenses reported in Wilson County in 2016, 1,761 were under the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s office, 3,242 were handled by Lebanon police, 1,458 were Mt. Juliet police, 55 were Watertown police, five were Cumberland University police and 10 were at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

The TBI warns against drawing direct comparisons among reporting agencies as many different variables can contribute to the total number and type of offenses reported in an area, as well as the rate at which offenses are cleared. Many of these variables are beyond an individual agency’s control, TBI officials said.

Agencies throughout the state are required to submit data to the TBI each year. This year, a few agencies have incomplete reporting, though none of those agencies are in Wilson County.

For the first time in four years, all agencies in Tennessee are compliant with reporting. Tennessee is one of 16 states reporting 100 percent compliance.

“We’re extremely thankful for our dedicated law enforcement partners,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “Together, they helped us compile a thorough snapshot of crime in Tennessee.”

Information released by the TBI is publicly accessible and may be found online at tncrimeonline.com.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com