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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Violent crime tops the agenda of Jefferson County's new chief prosecutor. Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine has created a new unit to target repeat, violent offenders to get them off the streets as quickly as possible.
Tom Wine is taking over as the county's chief prosecutor at a time when the murder rate is spiking. 2012 ended with 62 homicides, a 28% increase over 2011.
Wine has assigned four prosecutors to specifically target repeat, violent offenders.
"Get a conviction. Get them off the streets as long as possible. That's what the community's been crying out for. People are being held prisoner in their homes, and they need the relief," said Wine.
The idea gets a thumbs-up from Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad, who created the VIPER unit last year to combat violent crime.
"This will give us an opportunity to work with prosecutors who have a real focus on that area, and I think it will give us the opportunity to make sure that we are charging violent offenders appropriately and hopefully getting them off the streets for a long, long time," said Conrad.
Wine says the Commonwealth's Attorney's office has had similar units in the past that did have some success.
"But those were units that dried up because the funding dried up. But we're trying to make do with what we have to implement that program," he said.
Wine says he also wants to address the issue of human trafficking. There has been only one prosecution in Louisville so far. But because of Louisville's central location and ease of access, Wine expects the problem to get much worse.
"These young girls who get traded back and forth like a commodity, we want to address that. We want to be prepared. We want to get ahead of that. This is one of those things where we really need to be pro-active, and as soon as it pops up we need to jump on it."
Wine is also creating a special unit to deal with scams, particularly those targeted at senior citizens. All this, as he is forced to cut his personnel budget by 5%.