Louisville murders could be fewest since '06 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville murders could be fewest since '06


LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WDRB Fox 41) -- Louisville has seen roughly a 30 percent drop in murders this year to date, compared to last year. 

Metro police statistics show the city is on track to record its smallest number of murders since 2006.

Analyzing Louisville murders in the past used to be predictable.

Most of the victims were black.

Most of their deaths were connected to drugs.

Police numbers also show those factors have changed this year.

The shooting death of 19-year-old Thomas Ashley in Portland last Tuesday marked Louisville's 46th murder of the year, to date.

63 murders occurred in 2009 and in 2008; 62 occurred in 2007; 47 occurred in 2006, according to metro police.

Those keeping count for 2010 say the city could see its fewest numbers of murders in four years.

"The numbers are a tremendous drop. We've become much more concentrated on focusing on what we call hot spots, hot spots where certain kinds of crime are occurring -- violent crimes, shootings, drugs, those types of crimes," Louisville police chief Robert White said.

White believes statistical analyses of crime reports that predict where and when crime will occur have put police officers they're needed most.

He credits the 574-LMPD tip line, Block Watches and more people willing to tell officers what "they" know about a crime -- or suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

"Some of that information helps close cases. Some of that information helps prevent crimes from occurring, which would include those homicides," White said.

White says another factor may be continuing demolition of places such as Iroquois Homes low-income housing.  The city is tearing down the 1940s and 50s era barracks-style apartments in favor of new homes and apartments.

"A lot of crime occurs where the suspects are very familiar in the area that they're committing the crime. Sometimes, if there's a displacement, that might take them out of their comfort level, which thereby eliminates certain crimes from occurring," White said.

Drugs no longer are the prevalent motive behind this year's murders, though drugs are still a big crime problem.

Drugs rank third as a motive.  Domestic violence and other arguments among people are the top two, White said.

And the demographics of murder victims and those arrested for their deaths have changed this year from previous years. 

"It's pretty much equal, between white and blacks. Years past, it's predominantly, most of the victims have been African-American. 47-45 percent, something like that. And suspects, there are actually more white suspects than African-American suspects. Those are sort of anomalies we hadn't seen in the past," White said.

One thing has not changed this year.

Most of the murders occurred in the West End, Portland or near downtown.

Police have made arrests in 56 percent of the 2010 murder cases, according to police.


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