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Knoxville City Council meets Thursday to discuss new study on Knoxville shootings

The Knoxville Police Department released a new study investigating shooting data in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Most Knoxville shootings with victims happen in East and West Knoxville, according to data from the Knoxville Police Department released on Thursday. The Knoxville City Council will meet on Thursday to discuss the data, presented by KPD officials.

In total, there were 475 shootings with victims across Knoxville between 2015-2020. Around 43% of those were in East Knoxville and 33% were in West Knoxville, police said. They also said that most shootings with victims involved people between 18 - 24 years old and in some areas 25-34 years old.

Credit: KPD

Of all shootings involving victims, the officials said that 71% were Black and 29% were White.

Officials said that 60% of the population is Black in East Knoxville, and 35% is White. Officials said that the number of shootings in East Knoxville declined annually since 2017.

In West Knoxville, there were 20 incidents involving minors. It ranked the second-highest of all four Knoxville regions, with 33% of all shootings. Officials said that 91 victims were Black and 66 victims were White. They said that 14% of the population is Black and 79% is White.

Credit: KPD

Only 7% of shootings were in South Knoxville, officials said. Of those, most were between people 25 - 34 years old.

Police said that they add specific codes to capture additional data and interesting information to the department. They said that the additional data is reflected in the study released Thursday.

Several members of the council had questions following the presentation. Many wanted to know the percentage of gang-related shootings and if they were not gang-related, what kind of shooting occurred and over what.

Councilwoman Seema Singh raised a question about the outcome of the data and how would it be used. 

Police Chief Eve Thomas responded by saying the data would be used to decide where to put resources or more officers. That response garnered more questions and dialogue about what that would look like and why. Councilwoman Amelia Parker responded with some concerns, sharing her own experiences with the department but also asking to hear from the community, individuals who are interacting with KPD. 

Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie also spoke, adding that what we see in the data is a citywide issue that has to be looked at on multiple fronts including how to address the disparities and what factors could be contributing to crime.

Several council members agreed. Singh said if one thing is clear, it is that looking at these numbers is only the beginning. 

"So often we stop at the numbers and kind of get nervous about this is happening, we can't stop there we have to look further," she said. 

Credit: KPD
Credit: KPD
Credit: WBIR