Nashville is one of 18 regions the U.S. Justice Department will examine in its quest to explain a nationwide rise in violent crime last year, reports the Tennessean. A police spokesman says the city is on the list because violent crime rates have dropped there and officials want to know how Nashville bucked the national trend. The study will be done in three phases: looking at crime increases in cities, analyzing those results for trends, and identifying federal programs that can help. Nashville’s homicide total leapt 72 percent in 2005 over the year before, the highest increase in any of the nation’s 35 largest cities. A large part of that increase is attributed to the fact that Nashville had a record low murder total in 2004. Homicides are down 18 percent so far this year.
Other areas to be studied are Atlanta; Boston; metropolitan Charlotte, N.C.; Colorado Springs, Co.; Columbus, Oh.; Hartford, Ct.; Houston; Jersey City, N.J.; metropolitan Kansas City, Mo.; Miami; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Oklahoma City; Omaha, Nb.; Portland, Or.; San Bernardino County, Ca.; San Diego; and the cities in the Tidewater, Va., area.