FBI: crime rate drops across East Tennessee

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Keira Wyatt of Connect Ministries calls it a labor of love. Helping ex-cons re-enter society as productive members. "We need to do better taking care of one another," she said.

A message Prince Gillenwaters took to heart. Once a gang banger, now he counsels other former gang members. "They see that the effect that the crack epidemic had on our neighborhoods, and they just want a change," he said.

These grass roots efforts, plus a crackdown by KPD on nuisance businesses, add up to a drop in crime. "We don't have the foot traffic that we normally see with the prostitutes," said Wyatt.

"If we see a pattern or trend then obviously we pay attention to that," said KPD Deputy Chief Gary Price. Patterns like gun crimes and repeat offenders. "That could translate into homicides, it could translate in robbery and aggravated assaults," according to Price.

Wyatt challenged community members saying, "it's your community, own it. We need to take ownership of what's happening in our communities." And taking ownership can happen in any community through neighborhood watch and other groups looking out for each other, and being eyes and ears for the police.

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