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TBI Report Shows 12 Percent Decrease in School Crimes

Press release from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; May 9, 2013:

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today released its annual study dedicated to crime in Tennessee’s schools. Produced by TBI’s Crime Statistics Unit, the study spans a three-year period between 2010 and 2012 and is based on crime data submitted by Tennessee law enforcement agencies to the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS).

The reported number of crimes that occurred at schools decreased by 12 percent from 2011 to 2012 with 12,477 offenses reported in 2011 to 10,980 offenses reported in 2012. Examination of 2010 through 2012 data revealed a 16.5 percent drop in crime reported at schools over a three year period. This report is based on incidents submitted by law enforcement agencies and excludes offenses reported by colleges and universities. Those statistics are compiled in TBI’s “Crime on Campus” report that was released earlier this year.

“School Crimes Report” Quick Facts

  • Simple assault was the most frequently reported crime at 3,956 or 36 percent of offenses.
  • Of the 3,930 weapons reported at schools, 82 were firearms.
  • Crimes against persons made up the largest majority, nearly 50 percent, of reported school crimes.
  • More crimes occurred on Thursday than any other day of the week and the month of February had the highest frequency of school crime.
  • 47% of the time, the relationship between the offender and victim was acquaintance.
  • Marijuana greatly outnumbered all other seized drugs at school in 2012 accounting for nearly 75 percent of drug seizures.

It is important to understand the characteristics surrounding school crime and its offenders and victims. This understanding will help schools, policy makers, law enforcement and the public learn how to better combat crime that occurs at these institutions. To view the “School Crimes Report” for 2011 in its entirety, click here.

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Fentress Forgeries

The signatures on Fentress County time sheets for a secretary in the sheriff’s department were forged, a sheriff’s employee told state auditors, who determined that even though the secretary was earning full-time pay, her duties did not require that amount of time.

Auditors with the state comptroller’s office have referred the matter to the district attorney’s office.

The secretary was responsible for entering information into the state’s crime database, the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System, the audit says.

Because she telecommuted, the sheriff told auditors he took paperwork to the secretary’s home. But the secretary, also interviewed by auditors, provided a conflicting report: She said she picked up the reports at the sheriff’s office on nights and weekends, and sometimes took a sheriff’s department computer home to work. She told auditors she had been working 40 hours per week.

The chief deputy, who was in charge of reviewing and signing time sheets, told auditors that the secretary’s time sheets were rarely among those given to him for approval. When auditors presented him with her time sheets for a period of about a year through Feb. 13, 2010, the chief deputy “verified that in 23 instances his signature had been forged,” the audit says. The secretary earned more than $19,000 over those 23 pay periods.

The chief deputy “did not know who was signing his name on her time sheets before they were sent to the payroll department,” the audit says. “Furthermore, the chief deputy stated he had not seen or talked with this secretary in several years, except at the most recent Christmas party.”

Auditors checked with Overton and Clay counties, which also enter reports into the crime database. Those counties spent 5 to 10 hours per week on the task — the same job for which the secretary was garnering full-time pay.