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Metro Louisville's Homicide Rate Increased 14.6 Percent in 2014

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Cierra Twyman is still in pain four months after a bullet tore through the left side of her body while she was on the front porch of a Shawnee neighborhood house. She is recovering, but she said her bones ache in cold weather. Walking is difficult.

“It’s not a good feeling,” Twyman said.

But that's not the worst pain of all for Twyman. Her 16-month old daughter, Ne’Rhiah Miller, died in the same shooting that August day.

Ne’Riah was Louisville’s youngest criminal homicide victim in 2014.

In 2014, 55 people were victims of criminal homicide, according to data provided by Louisville Metro Police.

That's a 14.6 percent increase from 2013, when 48 people were killed in Louisville Metro Police's jurisdiction.

Here are the numbers from the last five years:

Homicides which resulted from domestic violence incidents occurred at a higher rate in 2014 than in years past, Chief Steve Conrad said in a recent interview with WFPL News.

Domestic violence attributed to 11 homicides in 2014, he said.

“That is a trend that we are hoping to address,” he added.

Here is a map of where all 55 criminal homicides happened in Louisville during 2014.

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col2+from+1jQacCcRXVYqBhSOOrAv6HDO_u248bH9qqElPTGCu&viz=MAP&h=false&lat=38.17680555515727&lng=-85.6153238191406&t=1&z=11&l=col2&y=3&tmplt=5&hml=GEOCODABLE&w=700&h=400]

Shootings accounted for 44 of the 55 criminal homicides in 2014, Conrad said. Nearly 20 percent of all reported shootings in 2014 resulted in a death.

About 78 percent of criminal homicide victims in 2014 were male, according to the data. African American males accounted for 52 percent of all criminal homicides in 2014. White males accounted for 25 percent.

The same number of African American and white females—six each—were criminal homicide victims, according to the data.

Victims 29-years-old or younger accounted for 45 percent of all criminal homicides. About 25 percent of victims were between the age of 30 and 39, according to the data.

Conrad said police have done a “terrible job” connecting with younger residents.

“We’ve got to fix that,” he said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said quelling crime should be approached with the long-term in mind.

He said city's crime situation “didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to be fixed overnight.”

“You have to have a fundamental change in the system itself of inequity for there to be significant structural changes,” he said.

No arrests have been made in 27 percent of 2014 criminal homicides, according to the LMPD data.

Twyman said she would like to see efforts directed toward getting unregistered guns off the street, but she admits it is no easy task.

“It’s not just Louisville that people are getting these unregistered guns and selling them on the street—it’s everywhere,” she said.

She said doubts the police will be able to do it, unless they “watch the street, 24/7.”

Twyman said she believes gun violence is fueled by the fear of gun violence—that people buy guns and carry guns to protect themselves from other people with guns.

“It’s fear,” she said. “People get guns for protection, people get guns because they are afraid of someone pulling a gun out on them.”

And fear is something that has crippled Twyman since the Aug. 27 incident that left her injured, her daughter dead and three men facing several charges, including murder.

Before the shooting, she enjoyed spending time at the park, on the porch and walking around the neighborhood.

But now, she said “things have changed, majorly.”

“I always look over my shoulder,” she said. “I don’t go outside, I stay in the house, I don’t spend time with family outdoors, I don’t go nowhere.”

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.