Domestic violence at root of state's dangerous crimes - WSMV News 4

Domestic violence at root of state's dangerous crimes

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More than half of the most dangerous crimes in the state start from one problem - domestic violence.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said 52 percent of all violent crimes begin with domestic violence.

Efforts to curb the crisis brought officials from nearly every state and county agency to the Capitol today.

Haslam brought up big numbers, startling crime statistics that are now the focus of his public safety action plan.

"We recognize we have a lot more work to do," said Haslam. "Last year domestic violence offenses made up almost 52 percent of crimes against persons in Tennessee."

The governor called the meeting to update state agencies from all Tennessee counties on the plan, implemented in January.

"We're on the same page and operating on the same plan, and that's pretty pivotal in itself," said Bill Gibbons, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

The public safety subcabinet found these to be the largest problems facing our state.

Domestic violence now accounts for more than half of violent crimes. Meth labs rank No. 2 in the country for the highest number, and gang activity is on the rise in nearly every region.

"What we're seeing is gang activity in smaller communities as well, so it's spreading out across the state," said Gibbons.

New laws may help reduce crime.

Domestic violence offenders in Tennessee now receive mandatory jail time. In 2013, Tennessee will be one of three states that require doctors to do research on patients who want prescription pain pills.

"In Memphis and Shelby County, we have a pilot effort for repeat offenders," said Gibbons.

The state is testing programs in counties with the highest crime to see if it reduces numbers.

Sex trafficking was also identified as a major state issue.

Davidson, Shelby, Knox and Coffee counties are ranked the worst, with more than 100 reported cases in each.

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