Why would two Nashville neighborhoods have very different responses to crime? The Tennesssean explored that qustion. In East Nashville, auto repair shop owner Bob Acuff rarely is seen without a police scanner in hand and runs an Internet listserv with 900 subscribers where he posts details daily about the emergency calls crackling over the radio, in hopes no more people will fall victim to the same crimes. In East Nashville, residents have staked a claim, partnered with police, and made clear they will not tolerate crime.
By contrast, South Nashville residents – fractured by geography and language barriers – continue to struggle against armed robbers preying on those most likely to give up their cash, and the least likely to call for help. Efforts in East Nashville paid off. Last year, violent crime dropped by more than 20 percent in the area’s ZIP code, the largest decline in the city. In the South Nashville ZIP code, violent crime leaped by 11 percent, the largest increase in the city. Some advocates think the number could be even higher because of unreported crimes. Fifteen years ago, East Nashville and South Nashville weren’t very different. Now in South Nashville, more than 100 apartment complexes make the neighborhood dense, and police work is made more complicated by language barriers. The area is home to many immigrants, including Mexicans, Kurds, and Somalis. The Tennessean tells how East Nashville residents have collaborated wih police to keep crime totals down.