KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A North Knoxville community remains on edge after a recent spike in crime has raised safety concerns in the area.
“It’s pretty scary,” Ralph Cariddi said. “In the year we’ve lived here, I’ve seen probably three or four different shootings that we could hear from my apartment.”
In the Lincoln Park neighborhood, crime has been on the rise. Just last week, someone was shot and killed on Chickamauga Avenue.
“I heard, ‘bang, bang, bang,’ and I thought, that’s got to be a gun,” Sandra McGill, 74, said.
Shootings like this have become more common within recent years. People living in the area say it used to be a safe place.
“It used to be really good,” John Comerford said. “It was a quiet neighborhood and there were no problems. Then over the years, I’d say in the past two years, things have gotten bad here.”
Sandra McGill has lived in Lincoln Park for the past 50 years. She says she has never seen violent crime quite this bad.
“It’s not safe here anymore,” she said. “It’s not safe a bit. There’s more crime than there’s ever been since we’ve lived here.”
Police say they are going to step up patrols in the area, with people in the neighborhood already noticing a greater police presence.
But some say it will take more than just increased patrolling to curb crime in the area.
“Any community projects to make people feel safer,” Cariddi said “I think it’s really important for people in the community to feel comfortable with each other and to feel safe together.”
Others say they wonder how much crime will there be before things change.
“If I didn’t live here and own [this property], I wouldn’t live here,” McGill said. “And if I had small children, I wouldn’t live here.”
Fom January 1 through May 24, 2016, the North Knoxville area between Interstate 275 and Interstate 640 had 32 aggravated assaults and zero murders. For the year, 52 aggravated assaults were reported and two murders.
This year from January 1 through May 24, 2017, there has been 40 aggravated assaults and one murder so far.
If trends continue, the area could see 62 total aggravated assaults for 2017, which is a 19 percent increase for the year.