Serious crime down in Kingsport, new report says

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Tennessee's crime rate has dipped and we're seeing the trend here in the Tri-Cities.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released it's 2013 Crime in Tennessee report, which shows there were fewer violent crimes in Kingsport in 2013 compared to the year before.

"It's just a reassurance of the professionalism of the police department and our crime statistics, how well we report those," said Jeff Fleming, the assistant city manager.

The report showed a 17.5 percent dip in serious crimes over the last year in Kingsport. There were no murders and no arrests made for forcible rape. The Kingsport Police Department arrested 420 fewer people in 2013, compared to 2012.

"It's a good sign obviously for our citizens but also for newcomers who are often searching the internet looking for the safest places to move to," said Fleming.

He told us some may be more willing to move to Kingsport, following this report. 

Fleming said it could lead to a boost in business. The manager at the downtown restaurant Stir Fry Cafe told us she agrees with Fleming.

"I think any any business, when you're looking at statistics in a city, crime is something they're going to look at always," said manager Melody Taylor. "The lower, the better."

Taylor told us one reason for the trend could be the police patrols they see almost every night downtown. She said they're glad to have the extra security.

"A restaurant does take in a lot of cash and that sometimes is an issue," Taylor said. "Maybe people coming in, if we get broken into, people trying to get into the safe or anything like that."

The Kingsport Police Department said they've been able to do more patrols because of a state grant. The extra man-power allows them to target high crime areas, they said.

We also took a look at the numbers for both Bristol, Tenn. and Johnson City. Both police departments made more arrests for serious crimes last year than in 2012.

You can visit the TBI website for the full report.

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