East Nashville residents battle high crime perception - WSMV Channel 4

East Nashville residents battle high crime perception

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

East Nashville has become a popular destination for home buyers and renters in Music City.

Artisan restaurants, remodeled homes and new developments line many of the main streets, but some potential renters and homebuyers still say worries about crime is holding them back from moving across the river.

"We felt like crime was the only thing holding us back from being the best place in Nashville to live," said resident Bob Acuff.

East Nashville has changed a lot since Acuff first moved there in the 1990s.

Acuff, known around town as the neighborhood crime guy, is an east Nashville pioneer, because he is one of the first residents to move in when many parts of the area truly weren't safe.

Now, armed with a police scanner, Acuff listens for robberies, shootings and other incidents and hosts a weekly meeting with Metro police during which residents share anything fishy they have seen or heard.

He has been doing it since the year 2000 and has grown quite a following.

"I have a Twitter account that we started just to do armed robberies," Acuff said.

Police say the neighborhood initiative has paid off, as crime in east Nashville has fallen 35 percent since the year 2004, and home break-ins in 2012 have dropped by more than 300 incidents since just last year.

Real estate agents say that while potential homebuyers have a lot of interest in the area, some are still showing concern.

East Nashville dentist Dr. Thom Hadley said if he thought the area was dangerous, he would not have moved his family and practice, Eastside Smiles, there.

He thinks the key to change is getting more businesses and people to move east.

"Right now, we have a serious lack of professional services. We desperately need a pediatrician. There are so many children," Hadley said.

Acuff, the crime watchdog, agrees. Since residents took the neighborhood into their hands nearly a decade ago, Acuff said he is having a hard time keeping up his Twitter feed.

"The armed robberies have dropped to such an extent, I'm thinking about putting other things on there now," he said.

Nashville real estate agents suggest if anyone interested in moving who is worried about crime should check out a local crime map by visiting http://www.crimemapping.com/map.aspx?aid=f76eb358-fccd-4d97-905e-84b269d54586.

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