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Snapshot of pandemic’s impact on public safety

By Tamas Mondovics

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has recently released select preliminary crime data trends for the first three months of 2020. By the numbers, and as predicted and expected by many, data illustrates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the volume and nature of the crime committed. According to the agency, the data gathered through TBI’s Tennessee Incident-Based Reporting System (TIBRS), compiles incidents submitted by the state’s law enforcement agencies.

“The preliminary statistics are subject to change as agencies investigate these reported incidents further,” TBI said.

At the time of reporting this story, the data revealed that comparing January through March of 2019 and 2020, reported instances of burglary decreased by approximately 17 percent. Home burglaries also decreased by approximately 20 percent. It is noteworthy that burglaries reported in many public places increased, including convenience stores (up more than 15 percent year-to-year), liquor stores (up approximately 53 percent), and department/discount stores (up more than 15 percent).

Crimes reported as having a domestic violence nexus decreased by roughly 4 percent compared to the same period. As for the combined number of reported thefts and crimes designated as violent in nature have also decreased by more than 5 percent. What did increase, however, was the number of crimes involving a firearm by more than 3 percent.

“We are thankful to the state’s law enforcement agencies for prioritizing these data submissions,” said TBI Director David Rausch.

Rausch emphasized that this snapshot helps all stakeholders have a better idea of how the pandemic has impacted public safety, and added, “I join all of my law enforcement colleagues in reminding the public all of our agencies are here to help during this, and every, emergency.”

For more information about the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, please visit