Two people were murdered and assaults jumped by 677 cases, pushing the crime rate up 17.1 percent during 2011 in Rutherford County.
No homicides occurred in the county in 2010.
Assaults, including domestic-related assaults and the more serious aggravated assaults, rose 677 cases from 1,104 in 2010 to 1,781 in 2011.
Crime increased in almost all categories, including 86 rapes, 21 robberies, 498 burglaries, 1,284 thefts and 119 motor vehicle thefts. The only category that dropped was arson from five to four.
Sheriff Robert Arnold said the overall increase in crime reflected the continuing population growth of more than 262,000 residents in the county and the current economic times.
“You have more crime when you have a downturn in the economy,” Arnold said.
Rutherford County’s population expanded 44 percent from the 2000 to 2010 census.
“We’re working harder than ever to keep all Rutherford County citizens safe,” Arnold said. “We’re working overtime to keep the county safe.”
The Criminal Investigations Division Family Crimes Unit investigated 683 cases, including domestic assaults, aggravated assaults, harassments and verbal assaults. These crimes totaled about 28 percent of CID’s caseload.
Family Crimes’ detectives work with victims to prevent repeat domestic violence assaults.
All of the enforcement divisions of the sheriff’s office work hard to reduce crime through patrols and visibility, he said.
“The Criminal Investigations Division has done an outstanding job in solving several home burglaries and continuing to be proactive,” Arnold said. “We are looking at some new technologies to be proactive such as crime mapping and intelligence-led policing initiatives.”
Detectives investigated 585 home, business and auto burglaries.
CID Commander Preble A. Acton said detectives made 58 more arrests in 2011 than the previous year and cleared 26 percent of the property crimes, 12 percent above the national average of 18 percent. Detectives recovered $241,102 worth of stolen property.
Citizens can help in the fight against crime by calling the Sheriff’s Office at 898-7770 immediately when they see suspicious activities or 911 for emergencies.