|Earlier this week, the Kingsport Police Department became aware of an Internet link that has been circulating across the State of Tennessee via e-mail and various social media applications. This link directs the user to an article entitled “17 Most Dangerous Cities in Tennessee.” In the article, the City of Kingsport is purported to be the eighth most dangerous city in the State of Tennessee. The same article also claims that Crossville, known as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee,” is the most dangerous city in the State of Tennessee, ranking even higher than Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis which is of course preposterous.
Anyone who receives this link can easily navigate back to the originating website’s homepage and learn that the article is actually nothing more than a shameless sales pitch by a private company with the goal of selling home security systems. The obvious intent of the article is to deliberately frighten citizens across the state of Tennessee into a false belief that they live in a dangerous community, and in turn drive them to purchase an alarm system. It is a marketing ploy, plain and simple.
Many more factors than just crime statistics play a role in the overall safety of any given city. Under the leadership of the Kingsport Area Safety Council and its member agencies, hospitals, businesses, and industries, the City of Kingsport and Sullivan County, TN hold the designation of being an internationally recognized “Safe Community” by the National Safety Council and the World Health Organization. Had Kingsport been the eighth most dangerous city in the state, it would not have been considered for this esteemed award.
The Kingsport Police Department wishes to assert that Kingsport has always been, is now, and will continue to be a safe place to live, work, and play. Make no mistake…Kingsport is not the fictitious “Mayberry” of the Andy Griffith Show fame. Crime does happen in Kingsport; however, the Kingsport Police Department makes every effort to predict it, prevent it, and when it does happen, swiftly bring those criminals who commit it to justice. Citizens are encouraged to refer to legitimate sources of information, such as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crimes in Tennessee Report, for crime statistics rather than believing urban legends circulated by e-mail and social media.
Does the Kingsport Police Department recommend home security systems to its residents? Absolutely! However, a home security system is only one element of a much larger plan. Good lighting, deadbolts, keeping valuables out of plain sight, Neighborhood Watch, and many other factors all play into an overall crime prevention strategy. And these are techniques that any law enforcement officer in any city in the world, regardless of the crime rate, would recommend. While the Kingsport Police Department cannot endorse any one particular home security company, we certainly would not recommend one that attempts to dupe citizens into buying from their company by using sensationalism to instill them with a false sense of fear.
The Kingsport Police Department makes every effort to maintain a transparent relationship with the Citizens of Kingsport. As such, the following narrative was issued in an official K.P.D. news release this past May and deserves repeating:
On May 6, 2014 the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released the 2013 Crimes in Tennessee Report. This annual report highlights reported crimes, arrests, and overall clearance rates of individual jurisdictions as well as the State of Tennessee as a whole. The 2013 analysis indicates that when it comes to crime and criminal investigations, the City of Kingsport is headed in a positive direction.
When comparing the 2013 data to that of the previous year, the Kingsport Police Department saw a 17.45% decrease in the more serious crimes known as Group A Offenses, which include some of the most violent crimes such as Murder, Rape, Aggravated Assault, and Robbery. There was also a 26.4% decrease in domestic violence incidents and a 27.96% decrease in simple assaults. The vast majority of property crimes, such as Arson, Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Vandalism, showed significant reductions as well.
Two additional improvements pertaining to violent crime are noteworthy. Regarding the crime of murder, there were zero incidents reported in the City of Kingsport during 2013 as opposed to a total of two in 2012. And, there was a 30.43% reduction in weapon law violations from 2012 to 2013.
Not only are less crimes being reported to the Kingsport Police Department, the department is also doing an even better job at solving these crimes. The Kingsport Police Department’s 2013 overall clearance rate was 41.49% which is not only an improvement over K.P.D.’s 2012 clearance rate of 37.04% but also exceeds the 2013 State of Tennessee overall clearance rate of 39.92%.
One likely contributing factor in this recent crime downtrend is K.P.D.’s participation in the State of Tennessee’s Targeted Community Crime Reduction (TCCR) Grant. This grant has funded hundreds of additional law enforcement man-hours strategically placed in the traditionally higher crime areas of the city. There can be little doubt that increased police visibility is a significant deterrent to criminal activity.
To view the 2013 Crimes in Tennessee Report, visit the following link: