Sunday August 18, 2019
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Angela Leet Releases Statement on Crime Numbers

Mayoral candidate and current District 7 Councilwoman Angela Leet called the Fischer Administration’s claim that crime is down, “dishonest.”

This claim is absolutely disingenuous. During Fischer’s first year in office, there were 49 homicides in the county. Last year, there were 108 homicides in the county. This year, we are currently on track to double the number of homicides in Fischer’s first year. So seeing a tiny downtick in a few week’s time is not a victory when all Fischer has managed to do is set a new normal of more than a 100 homicides a year,” said Leet.

In a 2005 survey, Morgan Quitno Press ranked Louisville as the seventh safest large city in the United States with that rank dropping to number eight in the 2006 edition of the survey.  Lousiville, however, failed to make independent security review site SafeWise’s 2017 list of 50 Safest Metro Cities in America at all and came in at 106 in WalletHub’s 2017’s Safest Cities in America rankings.

Leet claimed that the legacy of the Fischer Administration would be that “homicides have doubled, shootings have doubled, and drug overdose deaths have tripled” under the oversight of the current mayor.

The LMPD historical homicide data does show a dramatic uptick in murders over the past several years. The highest number of murders since 1960, the earliest year in which data is available, was 2016’s record setting year with 122 homicides in Jefferson County, followed closely by 2017’s number of 116 total homicides.

Fischer’s first year in office, 2011, saw the lowest number of homicides since 2003. The several years following his tenure as Mayor showed measurably higher numbers before beginning their remarkable increase to the numbers seen in recent years.

Leet continued, “For the 10 years prior to Fischer taking office, U of L Hospital admitted an average of 166 gunshot victims per year. During the Fischer Administration, U of L Hospital has seen an average of over 200 shooting victims, and that average is over 300 for the last 2 years. 1700 people have been admitted to University of Louisville Hospital for gunshot wounds since Fischer took office. That does not even include victims who were not admitted.

Putting a rosy spin on crime numbers is nothing new, however. Last August we published the city’s release claiming that crime overall in Lousiville was down 4%, driven by large decreases in violent crimes such as rape and robbery, and smaller decreases in property crimes like larceny. The article, however, noted then that homicides were up by 20% over the previous year’s data.

However, Leet said of Fischer’s attempt “to spin a tale of ‘crime is down'” in a year in which he is up for reelection, “I am disappointed that Fischer is manipulating numbers and denying the reality of drug and gang issues in our neighborhoods.

County Attorney Mike O’Connell is supporting a high-tech approach to curbing habitual drunk drivers with the rollout of Jefferson County’s new Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Program (CAMP).

Under the new initiative, prosecutors in O’Connell’s office will request that all repeat offenders for driving under the influence (DUI) wear alcohol-sensing anklets for varying periods of time to ensure that they aren’t drinking. The anklets, produced by SCRAM Systems, automatically test a subject’s perspiration every 30 minutes for alcohol consumption.

The 24-hour monitoring is designed to help individuals address their alcohol issues and reduce the chances that they will reoffend. The Jefferson County Attorney’s office will also recommend CAMP for certain alcohol-involved domestic violence cases and for first-time DUI offenders with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 or greater that also have an additional serious aggravating factor. Aggravators would include multi-vehicle crashes or those that involve bodily injury or death, a driver under the age of 21, or having a minor-age child in the car at the time of arrest.

In addition to keeping roads safer from impaired drivers, O’Connell stressed the focus on rehabilitation with CAMP.

“The use of this alcohol-sensing technology can absolutely save lives,” O’Connell said. “This is an effort to use the accountability of the courts as a path toward sobriety. The longer a person is able to stay sober, the greater the chance that they will not commit a DUI or other alcohol-involved crime.”

Depending on the case, CAMP might be recommended while a defendant is awaiting trial, entered as a condition of a plea agreement, or both. The program could also conceivably cut city costs by allowing certain offenders to avoid jail days if they agree to continuous monitoring and demonstrate that they take their offense—and their alcohol misuse—seriously and are addressing the issue.

Offenders will pay for the monitoring with planning in place to help people who are indigent and cannot afford the costs. Monitoring costs nationwide average $10-12 a day. SCRAM Systems claims that former clients have self-reported spending on average about $14 per day on alcohol prior to wearing the bracelet. The office of the Jefferson County Attorney receives no money from the program.

Jurisdictions across the country have had success using SCRAM technology and continuous alcohol monitoring. York County, Pennsylvania reduced pretrial recidivism for drunk drivers by more than 90 percent. The district attorney in San Diego County, California–using monitoring guidelines similar to what is planned in Louisville–has saved taxpayer dollars by reduced jail overcrowding and seen earlier intervention for alcohol misuse.

Monitoring technology and services will be provided locally by Bluegrass Monitoring, which has monitored more than 9,200 individuals through similar efforts in the region as Ohio Alcohol Monitoring Systems.

Seminars are set for August 14-16 at the Louisville Bar Foundation to educate members of the local legal community, including judges and members of the defense bar, about the program.

CAMP is the latest tactic that O’Connell has promoted that uses the leverage of the court system to have a positive impact on addiction. His office has been instrumental in forming and supporting the Jefferson County’s Drug Treatment and Veterans’ Treatment Courts, and he has supported the use of Casey’s Law in Kentucky, which allows parents, spouses and others to seek the court’s assistance to order their loved one into treatment for drugs or alcohol.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • According to Kentucky’s Administrative Office of the Courts, Jefferson County has averaged 4,260 charges of DUI each year since 2011. In 2016, there were 2,383 total DUI charges in Jefferson District Court and more than 22 percent (528) were repeat offenses.
  • In 2016, 835 people in Kentucky died as a result of car crashes. The Commonwealth saw more than 4,200 collisions involving alcohol last year, resulting in more than 1,900 injuries and 119 alcohol-involved fatalities.
  • On average, a DUI can cost a person $10,000 in attorney fees, fines and court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing and repairs etc. Based on 2010 data from NHTSA, impaired driving crashes cost the United States more $44 billion each year.
  • SCRAM Systems has monitored nearly 600,000 people with the technology that will be used in Jefferson County, and on any given day, 99.3 percent of individuals are sober and fully compliant with their monitoring.

Louisville has experienced a 4 percent drop in crime overall for the first half of 2017, with declines in all eight LMPD divisions and in every category except homicides, Mayor Greg Fischer and Chief Steve Conrad announced today.
(See Louisville crime data for 2017.)

LMPD data from the first six months of 2017 compared to the same six months of 2016 show:

Violent crime overall is down 5 percent.

  • Homicides are up 20 percent
  • Rape is down 15 percent
  • Robbery is down 14 percent
  • Aggravated Assaults are down 0.5 percent

Property Crime is down 3.7 percent

  • Burglary is down 1.9 percent
  • Larceny is down 4.8 percent
  • Motor vehicle theft is down 1.4 percent

“This data is clear – with the exception of homicides, we are headed in the right direction for every category of crime,” Fischer said.

The Mayor said the data shows there were 658 fewer crimes in Louisville for the first half of the year, an overall 4 percent reduction.  “That is 658 fewer citizens who were victims in Louisville,” he said.

And the declines are being seen across all eight LMPD patrol divisions:

  • First Division (Downtown area, Portland, Russell and Phoenix Hill neighborhoods): Down 10.3 percent.
  • Second Division (Shawnee, Chickasaw and Park DuValle neighborhoods): Down 5.5 percent.
  • Third Division (Iroquois Park, Pleasure Ridge Park, Valley Station and Fairdale): Down 2.7 percent.
  • Fourth Division ( Smoketown, Churchill Downs, the Fairgrounds, South Louisville and Old Louisville):  Down 4.2 percent.
  • Fifth Division (Highlands, Clifton and Cherokee and Seneca Park areas): Down 7 percent.
  • Sixth Division (Audubon Park, Newburg, Norfolk, the airport and GE): Down 2.3 percent.
  • Seventh Division (Okolona, Fern Creek, Ford plant and the Jefferson Mall): Down 0.13 percent.
  • Eighth Division (Middletown, Lyndon, Oxmoor and the Ford Truck Plant): Down 0.07 percent.

Chief Conrad credited the entire LMPD team, from the command staff to the patrol officers, for work that is making a difference in the city.

“The entire force at LMPD is here to protect and serve the citizens, and I’m proud that we are having an impact,” Conrad said. “We will continue to work our plan, with a key focus on reducing homicides and getting the crime-fighting resources to the neighborhoods that need them most.”

Fischer and Conrad both cautioned that, although the six months of data shows positive signs, there is still tremendous work ahead to make Louisville one of America’s safest large cities. “But we are committed to making that happen,” Fischer said.

Attorney General Andy Beshear and his Cyber Crimes Unit today announced a Jefferson County man has been arrested for allegedly seeking sex with a minor.

Scott Louis Craven, 35, of Louisville, has been charged with one count of prohibited use of an electronic communication system for the purpose of procuring a minor for a sex offense, a Class D felony.

According to Beshear’s cyber investigators, Craven became the subject of investigation after seeking sex with a minor in a chatroom and sending sexually explicit photos of himself to cyber investigators.

Craven was arrested May 1 and lodged in Louisville Metro Corrections. Beshear’s cyber investigators were assisted by Louisville Metro Police Department, Third Division and Kentucky State Police Post 12.

The work of the Cyber Crimes Unit, a division of the Department of Criminal Investigations in the Office of the Attorney General, is part of Beshear’s core mission to keep sexual predators away from Kentucky’s families and children.

“The Attorney General is the chief advocate and protector for our Kentucky families, and it’s our job to ensure our communities are safe by taking off the streets anyone who would exploit children,” Beshear said. “I want to thank LMPD and KSP for working with my office on this case.”

Beshear’s work to prevent child abuse led to nearly 80 arrests, indictments and convictions of online child predators in 2016

Craven was to be arraigned in Jefferson District Court May 2. His cash bond is set at $10,000.

Photo: Attorney General Beshear’s Office

Attorney General Andy Beshear and his Cyber Crimes Unit today announced a Jefferson County man has been arrested for allegedly seeking sex with a minor.

Robert L. Tomlinson, 55, of Louisville, has been charged with one count of prohibited use of an electronic communication system for the purpose of procuring a minor for a sex offense, a Class D felony.

According to Beshear’s cyber investigators, Tomlinson became the subject of an investigation after seeking sex with a minor and asked for sexually explicit photos of a minor.

Beshear’s cyber investigators arrested Tomlinson April 5 in Louisville with the assistance of Louisville Metro Police and the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force.

The work of the AG’s Cyber Crimes Unit, a division of the Department of Criminal Investigations, is part of Beshear’s core mission to keep sexual predators away from Kentucky’s families and children.

“The Attorney General is the chief advocate and protector of Kentucky families, and my office’s job is to ensure our communities are safe by taking off the streets anyone who would exploit children,” Beshear said. “I want to thank our cyber investigators, Chief Conrad and his officers, and the Secret Service for working on this case.”

Beshear’s work to prevent child abuse led to nearly 80 arrests, indictments and convictions of online child predators in 2016.

Tomlinson was transported to Louisville Metro Corrections where he remains on a $10,000 full cash bond. He is scheduled to appear in court April 14.

Beshear’s Cyber Crimes Unit partners with federal, state and local agencies to further their ongoing efforts in Operation Shielded Child, which targets those who would seek out children for sexual exploitation and those who promote the ongoing proliferation of child pornography.

At least four people, including a suspected attacker and a police officer, have been confirmed dead in an attack near the British parliament that authorities are treating as a terrorist incident.

“Although we remain open minded to the motive, a full counterterrorism investigation is already underway,” Commander BJ Harrington told a news conference Wednesday in London.

A search is underway to confirm there are no additional attackers, though police officials have indicated the attack was carried out by a lone assailant.

Parliament was placed on lockdown after an attacker stabbed a police officer before being shot by other officers on the parliament grounds. The injured officer later died of his injuries. At least two people were killed and eight others injured when a vehicle struck several people on the nearby Westminster bridge.

A senior police officer told VOA that they believe only one assailant was involved in what appears to have been “a three-staged attack.”

It began with an SUV being driven over Westminster Bridge right by the House of Commons. The SUV mounted the sidewalk and struck several pedestrians.

Attacker rammed pedestrians

According to police sources, the vehicle struck some other pedestrians at the perimeter fence near the gates at Old Palace Yard.

“The attacker then rushed the gates and struggled with a police guard who tried to stop him. The assailant stabbed him several times,” the senior police officer said. “Other officers shot the attacker.”

Eyewitness accounts

The gunfire was heard at 2:38 p.m. London time inside the House of Commons as lawmakers were debating legislation on pension reform. Eyewitnesses say about half-a-dozen shots were fired.

“It all happened within a minute,” witness Tawhid Tanim told VOA. “I came out of where I work and saw a car had pulled up and I heard I just heard bang bang bang and people running everywhere.”   Continue reading

Asks General Assembly to take action before session ends

Mayor Greg Fischer today urged the General Assembly to strengthen the reporting requirement of suspected child abuse when it involves law enforcement officers or leaders.

Current Kentucky law requires anyone who suspects that a child is being abused to report it to police, the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services or the county or commonwealth’s attorney. The law does not, however, require a local police department to report to other agencies when one of its officers is suspected of child abuse.

“This state law is intended to protect our children by requiring citizens to speak up to authorities when they reasonably believe a horrible crime is being committed against a child,” Mayor Fischer said. “This legal requirement should be extended to law enforcement agencies as well when the suspicion falls on one of their own, to ensure that all due diligence is taken to protect our young people.

“I’m calling on state lawmakers to take immediate action in the upcoming final days of this legislative session.”

Last week, Mayor Fischer appointed a special investigator to investigate sex abuse allegations in the Louisville Metro Police Explorer Program, and the circumstances surrounding the allegations. The Mayor also asked the FBI to investigate potential violations of federal law surrounding the case, and ordered a city government-wide inquiry to ensure all city programs that involve youth meet national standards.

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