SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: LMPD discusses violent kids and gang problems in the city
LMPD says the city has about 5 groups of juveniles that are causing problems in the community that they are monitoring.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Teenagers are suspected to be committing violent crimes in Louisville.
Shot rang out at a packed Pegasus Parade last week. Police say even with officers everywhere, two 15-year-old boys shot a 17-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, who was an innocent bystander.
Councilman David James says he's been told by LMPD that two rival gangs were involved in that shooting, but he refused to publicly name which ones.
This comes as Chief Steve Conrad said there are 25 active gangs in Louisville. We asked for an interview with the Chief, but were denied. We sat down with Assistant Police Chief Kim Kraeszig to discuss Louisville's gang problem.
She said, "A lot of the issues that we see surround juveniles. We have juveniles that are on the streets. There's just no accountability."
Jennifer Moore, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the Louisville FBI says, "I don't think anyone should live in fear. We are out there. Metro is addressing the problem. We are partnered with them."
"The 25 gangs that we were talking about did not include the juveniles. We have about 5 groups of juveniles that are causing problems in our community that we are monitoring," Kraeszig said.
She also said LMPD has identified about 50 kids involved in these groups, and that the 25 gangs include biker and white supremacist gangs.
Kraeszig says the 25 gangs were identified through investigations and the number 25 has remained consistent compared to previous years.
She said, "You are not seeing the Bloods and the Crips shooting each other because one is wearing red and one is wearing blue or you are in my neighborhood or things like that. What you are seeing is violence of one drug dealer robbing another drug dealer."
Drugs and making money are the backbone of these gangs.
Kraeszig says because of social media and cell phones, the gangs can be anywhere, not just specific neighborhoods. She says the juvenile crime issue is bigger than the 25 gang crime issue. "Because there is really no accountability... again you don't want to criminalize children. It's a very fine line to walk because they are kids."
Kraeszig says officers are taking more illegal guns out of the hands of kids and off the streets. Adults who give the guns to the children are arrested.
Neighbors at Cecil and Greenwood are frustrated with all the teen violence.
One man said, "I can't do anything, but try to talk to these young guys. I try to talk to some of the young guys out here. Get yourself grass cutting jobs. Do what I did when I was 15, hustle instead of doing the other stuff. Get you a hustle of cutting grass, shoveling snow."
Police say it's not just a law enforcement problem, it's a community problem.
Some of the kids in gangs come from broken homes and are looking for somewhere to fit in.
"I've been out all weekend for the Derby events and I worked the West Broadway corridor Friday and Saturday. It was sad to see that I saw 8, 9 and 10-year-old kids out at 2, 3 and 4 o'clock in the mornings with no supervision," Kraeszig said.
She says the children committing the crimes are often repeat offenders, getting arrested and released through the juvenile court system over and over again.
Kraeszig said, "That's the mentality our officers are faced with and we have to take that very seriously. When it becomes a public safety hazard, we have to take control of this and these kids have got to be held accountable."
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