Precinct Looks To Combat Truancy, Reduce Juvenile Crime
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Truancy is a major factor in juvenile crime reported in Nashville, according to Metro police.
To tackle the issue, one precinct created a most wanted list comprised of youth who are causing the most problems in the community.
The youth are linked to home and auto burglaries in the Hermitage area.
Police said if they know who the youths are, they can track them and make sure they're in school. In short, keeping them out of trouble.
Metro Lt. Duane Williamson said youngsters who are running the streets are also running up the crime statistics in Metro's Hermitage Precinct.
"Most of them are burglarizing homes in the areas where they live, in their neighborhoods," he said.
Williamson said he's not sure if anybody else has tried this method so "we're going to give it a try and see how it goes."
Officers looked over the crime numbers and tracked the worst of the worst or the so-called top 10.
Police plan to call schools to ensure the students are in class. If not, police will check at home. If needed, a patrolman will go to their neighborhood to look for the class cutter.
"This is like a multi-headed monster. You don't just approach it from one direction," said Bob Ross, director of family services at the Davidson County Juvenile Court.
He runs the new Metro Attendance Center where students caught wondering the streets are given counseling and support.
He fully backs Metro's new idea because, he said, most of the kids who run into trouble do it during school hours.
"If kids are not in school they're probably someplace they're not supposed to be," he said.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," Williamson said.
Officers with the Hermitage precinct went over about two years worth of crime data to determine which kids needed to be tracked. Some were repeat offenders and others were kids identified as neighborhood troublemakers.
Metro will begin the new program Monday in the Hermitage precinct. If it is successful and it keeps these kids off the streets and out of trouble, there's a chance it could be expanded to other parts of the city.