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Credit: Louisville Metro Police

Chief Steve Conrad appeared before the Louisville Metro Council Public Safety Committee last week to update the work his officers are doing to combat crime in Louisville.

Though there are still a few more weeks in 2017, the Chief said his team is encouraged by decreases in most crime reporting categories for the year, which indicate that department strategies are having an impact.

Chief Conrad highlighted data that all police departments provide the FBI for the Uniform Crime Report, which shows decreases in most crime categories in Louisville through October, the most recent month available.

“The numbers I am reporting today speak to a strategy that is working,” the Chief said. “I share these numbers as an indicator of progress, as well as recognition that there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Through October, overall violent crime was down 2.25 percent; compared to being up 9.8 percent at this time last year. Property crime was down 5.37 percent, compared with it being up more than 6.4 percent last year. And total crime was down nearly 5 percent, when it was up 6.9 percent through October 2016.

Despite that progress, the Chief acknowledged “we continue to have a disturbing number of homicides,” which “is a serious issue and continues to be a concern for me and all the men and women of LMPD, as it is for the larger community.”

To date, there have been 101 homicides in Louisville Metro. While that is down 8 percent from the 110 at this time last year, the Chief said, even one life lost is too many, and there is still much work to do – and much work being done.

He outlined several crime-fighting strategies that are having an impact:

  • A reorganization of the Narcotics Unit has resulted in felony arrests up more than 46 percent; search warrants up 216 percent; the amount of heroin seized up 99 percent; and the number of firearms seized up 192 percent.
  • The LMIntel task force, which is a joint effort of LMPD and several federal partners, has made dozens of felony arrests, seized several firearms and recently announced a 40-count federal indictment aimed at members of a violent gang.
  • The 9th Mobile Division continues to target high crime areas and specific people involved in violent crime. To date, the division is responsible for 849 felony charges and has seized 604 guns in 2017. Of the guns seized by 9th Mobile officers, 51 percent were taken from convicted felons.
  • The Real Time Crime Center’s impact is growing as it provides valuable intelligence to investigations throughout the metro area.
  • ShotSpotter, technology used to detect gunfire in certain areas, is helping to get officers to scenes quicker, often before a 911 call can be made.

In his comments about those efforts and others, Chief Conrad praised the hardworking men and women of LMPD, saying they “are working very, very hard to make Louisville a safer city.”

“I am extremely proud of this department and the efforts we’ve seen this year,” he said, adding that his team is committed to continuing to work with other Metro agencies, Metro Council and community partners to further reduce crime.

Record-Breaking Crime Stats For 2016

Credit: Louisville Metro Police

Credit: Louisville Metro Police

It is no secret that last year Louisville saw a record number of homicides.  It seemed as though a new shooting or a new homicide was being reported every day, sometimes multiple times in one day.  According to LMPD, Louisville, saw an increase of just under 50% to 117 homicides (123 for the entire county) during 2016, the highest since 1976 (104 total homicides).  The majority of victims were black, accounting for a little more than 60% of the total.  The majority of the victims were also male, approximately 79%, and more than half of the victims were between the ages of 18 and 34.  LMPD was able to make 58 arrests in the homicide cases and the average suspect is the same as the average victim: a black male between the ages of 18 and 34.

Louisville also saw an increase in the number of shooting incidents, 504 compared to 353 last year. 504 shooting incidents is also the highest that has been recorded in the past five years. Of those 504 shootings, 102 were fatal.

Since gun control has been a hot topic the past year due to the election and a small group of Kentucky Mayors asking for the State Legislature to change state law regarding gun control, many of the other violent crime categories seemed to have been ignored by the local news.  Here are some of the crime statistics and how they compare to last year:

  • Robbery – 1,873, roughly the same as last year;
  • Aggravated Assault – 2,921, up from 2,558;
  • Rape – 149, down from 163;
  • Property Crime – 29,890, up slightly from 28,055;
    • Burglary – 5,884, down slightly from 6,229;
    • Larceny – 19,808, up slightly from 18,751;
    • Motor Vehicle Theft – 4,198, up from 3,075

According to Mayor Fischer, violent crime is “tragically acute in a few specific neighborhoods.”  Looking at the maps by LMPD division, all eight divisions have been affected by homicide and shooting incidents.  However, it appears that the majority of the homicides, shooting, and aggravated assaults occurred in the 1st (mainly north of Broadway and between I-264 on the east and west) and 2nd divisions (mainly west end).  Taken in total, Louisville saw an overall increase by 9% in all violent crimes and a 46% increase in homicides.  This appears to be outpacing the  national average.  Nationwide data is still pending, but as of June 2016, the country saw an overall increase in violent crime by 5% in general, and a 5% increase in the number of homicides when compared to the first six months of 2015.  If the data is limited to only cities that are comparable in size to Louisville, there was a 5% increase in all violent crimes and only a 2% increase in homicides.

After averaging about ten homicides per month last year, Louisville has registered 15 homicides as of February 15, which is about the same as last year.  While we are not seeing decrease in number of homicides as of now, hopefully, we will not see another record-breaking year.

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