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Violent Crime Trended Up in Louisville in 2014, Police Chief Says

The violent crime rate is trending upward in Louisville.

Official crime statistics for 2014 won’t be finalized until mid-January, but Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said Wednesday that violent crime in the first 11 months of 2014 was up 10 percent compared to the same time period the year before.

In an interview with WFPL, Conrad said said 2013 boasted the lowest violent crime rate in Louisville since 2004. That included the lowest homicide rate since 2003.

“We’re benchmarking against a very low year,” he said.

Despite that, he said, the increase in the current year diminishes the decreases in the violent crime rate experienced in 2012 and 2013.

More shootings, more robberies and more aggravated assaults contribute to the heightened crime rates, Conrad said

Through November, a reported 223 shootings happened in Louisville in 2014, Conrad said. Of those, 44 were fatal and considered homicide.

To date, 55 homicides happened in 2014 in Louisville, Conrad said.

Last year, 48 happened.

He said police have noted an upward trend in homicides related to domestic violence, which accounted for 11 deaths this calendar year. In 2013, six homicides were related to domestic violence, Conrad said.

Robbery incidents have also surged this year, Conrad said.

When comparing the first 11 months of 2013 to 2014, robberies were up nine percent this year. Conrad said an increase in business robberies has police especially concerned. About five “serial robbers” have been arrested this year, which were responsible for nearly 40 robberies.

“This has been a continuing trend that we have seen throughout the year,” he added.

Louisville also had an increase in 2014 in aggravated assaults, though the number of shootings were "consistent" with the numbers from recent years, Conrad said.

Conrad said violent crime needs to be addressed in two phases. In the short term, arrests must be made and focusing on the people who are consistent offenders.

“We are trying to put officers in the areas that are experiencing problems and arresting the people we know who are committing crimes,” he said.

Long-term fixes include investing in early education and continuing education, providing resources for parents and ensuring convicted felons can find gainful employment when they leave prison or jail, Conrad said.

“All of those are key to really changing our community,” Conrad said.  “The investments we are making in those areas I think will really lead to safer community.”

In a separate interview on Wednesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said reducing crime in the city is the responsibility of everybody.

“Crime is not only the police’s responsibility,” he said.  “I look at crime as a system.”

Fischer said reducing crime is an area that “we will continue to put a lot of resources to.”

To see where crime is happening around your neighborhood,go here.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.