The new year is starting with some good news about Nashville's fight against crime. The city's murder rate dropped significantly in 2013 to its lowest level in half a century.
According to Metro police, there were 43 cases of criminal homicide in 2013, including three that occurred several years ago but are being included in this year's count.
The number of cases was 19 below the 2012 total of 62. The previous low was 45, recording in 1963, the first year of the Metropolitan Government.
Police consider it a big win, and so do those touched by the crime, even though all sides admit there's still work to do.
If anyone knows the impact of murder, it could Ed Wisdom III. His father, Ed Wisdom Jr., died two years ago in a shooting at his home.
"My father was my hero. He was my idol. So everything that I've done in my life I've tried to pattern myself after him," Ed Wisdom III said.
In his spare time, the son took on the father's cause, fighting crime, by trying to tackle its causes through a foundation and a scholarship fund in his dad's name.
He also partners with city leaders on big-picture projects.
"What I want to be able to do is just to engage the community in conversations about youth, fatherhood, family, deal with crime, poverty, some of those attributes that contribute to crime," Ed Wisdom III said. "I've been pleased with the approach that the city has taken. It's been a proactive approach to engage in some of that stuff."
It could be working.
In response to the drop in murder cases, the Police Chief Steve Anderson wrote in a statement:
"We all should consider even one murder to be too many. We can do even more to dissuade violence in our community, and I look forward to further strengthening our partnerships with hundreds of neighborhood, business, civic and clergy groups to make our city even safer in 2014 and beyond."
Ed Wisdom III plans to play his part. It seems the life and death of his father won't let him do otherwise.
"His character and integrity spoke volumes for me, so that's why, definitely, his life and his legacy is important to try continue going in this city," he said.
There is more news expected from Metro police. The department is working to finalize numbers but anticipates an over decrease of about 6 percent in major crimes in 2013.
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