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Thefts increasing in schools, other crimes decreasing

A report from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations indicates that the number of reported crimes in all K through 12 schools in the state has decreased since 2012. The number of reported crimes related to theft, however, has risen through the years.

The report reviewed 30,232 offenses that were reported on campuses from 2012 through 2014. The offenses were those that were reported to a law enforcement agency of some type, though obviously some offenses probably went unreported. From 2012 to 2014, the number of annual offenses dropped by 14.4 percent; the number of reports in 2014 was 9,428.

While theft crimes increased by 6.2 percent over the three-year period and thefts accounted for 16.9 percent of all reported offenses, it was not the top type of crime reported. According to the statistics, simple assault accounted for 35.4 percent of the offenses reported throughout the three years. Assault reports did see a decrease of 19.5 percent from 2012 to 2014, though.

The third-highest reported offense type were crimes related to drug and narcotics. Around 11.4 percent of the reports were for these offenses. Drug reports dropped 16.8 percent from 2012 to 2014.

The agency hopes that the report will help teachers, school officials and law enforcement agencies create crime-fighting measures in schools. In the meantime, students who are charged with crimes do have a right to a defense. While juvenile crimes are often made light of due to the nature of sentencing in such cases, being charged with a crime during school years can have a lasting impact on someone. Understanding student rights and seeking a strong defense can help mitigate any damage to the future.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, "TBI report: Crime in Tennessee elementary and secondary schools down," Richard Locker, June 22, 2015

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