Despite Rising Homicides, Fischer Says Prevention Strategy Shows Progress
Crime in Louisville has dropped this year, but homicides continue to climb. That’s according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad.
During a news conference Tuesday, Fischer and Conrad compared Louisville’s crime statistics so far to 2016 data. They said data show Louisville’s violent crime rates have decreased five percent this year, but homicides are up 20 percent compared to 2016.
Property crime — such as burglary, larceny and stolen vehicles — is down 3.7 percent, they said.
Though 2017 could be Louisville’s deadliest year, a six-month update from Fischer is unprecedented. In the past, the mayor has given yearly updates on crime statistics. But criticism of Conrad’s leadership is mounting and a council committee is scheduled to discuss a no-confidence vote Wednesday afternoon.
When questioned why he scheduled the public update before the discussion regarding a no-confidence vote on Conrad, Fischer said the vote is a major distraction to public safety and the community.
“To point fingers, to act like there’s a simplistic solution to something as complicated as crime, is not a responsible step to take for the overall safety of the city,” Fischer said.
He said the city must objectively review the data and collaborate to make Louisville safer.
'Not just a Louisville problem'
Fischer and Conrad attribute Louisville’s surging homicide rate to a national trend in other cities. Citing data from the Major City Chief’s Association — comprised of 69 major law enforcement agencies — Conrad said Louisville has succeeded in lowering overall crime in all its divisions compared to national rates.
“While these numbers are absolutely no consolation to someone who has lost a loved one to a homicide, whether in Louisville or one of these other cities, it does, I believe, demonstrate and help us understand that this is an epidemic that is not confined to any one city," said Conrad. "This is not just a Louisville problem."
The city is on track this year to surpass the 117 homicides in 2016. If it does, 2017 would be a record-breaker for the number of homicides in the city.
Still, Conrad said nonfatal shootings have decreased by more than 18 percent in Louisville. He praised new systems like Shotspotter, which monitors and reports gunshots in certain areas, for LMPD’s quick response and seizures of weapons and drugs.
And Fischer said community programs like SummerWorks and ReImage help deter violent crime in neighborhoods.