NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - An attack ad called “Anybody but Briley” takes shots at Nashville Mayor David Briley, but is it true.

The television ad, purchased by honky tonk owner Steve Smith, says the crime rate in the city keeps going up as the number of police officers keep going down.

“David’s had plenty of time to straighten the city out,” Smith said on Tuesday, two days before the Metro General Election on Thursday.

Smith said he’s spent around $30,000 to purchase time to run the ad.

“It’s about all of us merchants being scared to death that we’re going to lose that income that we’ve brought into the city over the last 15 years,” Smith said.

News4 decided to truth-test the ad.

Is the number of police officers in Nashville going down? That’s true. Metro Police numbers show there are 19 fewer sworn personnel today than 18 months ago. There are currently 98 vacant positions.

Is crime up in Nashville or not?

Overall for the last two years, according to stats provided by the police department, violent crime is down 0.3% in Nashville. However, in the central precinct, which includes downtown Nashville, there is a 22% increase.

The Briley campaign calls the ad “a clear move of desperation” saying 17 additional officers are now patrolling the downtown area.

Violent crime is on the decline in Nashville.

“It’s wrong not to give our police officers due credit for their hard work on that front,” Briley said in a statement.

Smith has supported Carol Swain for mayor. She’s not mentioned in the “Anybody but Briley” ad.

Campaign finance records show Smith’s companies contributed $64,000 to the Carol Swain campaign in the first three weeks of July. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Nancy Amons is an award-winning member of the News4 Investigates team. She has been breaking stories in Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years.

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