LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a six-point plan Thursday to combat the rising levels of violent crime in the city.
In a prepared speech during an "I Am Ali Festival" event, Fischer drew a direct correlation between an increase in homicides and the uptick in illegal drug activity.
"Closing down the pill mills made opioids more expensive," he said. "That fueled the heroin market. And when competitors in this economy have disputes over territory or market share, they don’t sue each other. They use violence that often ends with one or more of those involved dead, in the hospital, or in jail.”
Fischer cited statistics dating back to 1971 to show how Louisville's homicide rate has spiked in just the last two years.
"Until two years ago, Louisville was well under the national average for cities like ours, which right now is 12.5 per 100,000," he said. "Last year, we were seeing roughly 15 homicides per 100,000 people, and we’re a little ahead of that mark right now.
"We find violent crime and homicides are on the rise in roughly 60 percent of America’s largest cities. Clearly, this is something that’s bigger than any one city."
Fischer also mentioned the presence of gangs in Louisville, saying their prevalence, combined with illegal drug trade, is the driver of the city's violence crime.
He added that he "completely understands the fear" that some have of retaliation, leading to a lack of tips for police in unsolved homicide cases.
"We never see who or where the tips come from, so people can share information with a call, text or online, and remain totally anonymous," he said. "Crime is a challenge we must have citizens’ help to resolve."
Here is Fischer's six-point plan to reduce crime, released by his office Thursday night:
Fischer touched on several other things the city plans to help with, including hiring 55 new LMPD officers and calling for gun reform from Frankfort.
He added that poverty can drive many of the problems the city faces in 2017.
"Poverty is often at the root of much of our crime," he said. "Today, one in seven Louisvillians lived in concentrated poverty. That's unacceptable."
Fischer also used the time to tout recent development in some of the aforementioned "hot-spot neighborhoods. For example, he cited "unprecedented levels of investment in west Louisville."
"These investments will mean better jobs, more opportunities, and a better quality of life," he said.
Speaking to the "spirit" of Muhammad Ali as he ended his prepared statement, Fischer called on citizens to draw a correlation between the story Ali told in his life and the one the city can use for its future.
“Let’s capture that spirit. Let’s nurture it in all our children," he said. "Ali’s story is far from over. And ours is just beginning. Let’s a write a new chapter in the history of Louisville, one where everyone in every neighborhood has an open path to greatness."
Fischer's six-point crime-prevention plan is outlined below:
And you can read Fischer's full prepared statement from Thursday's event here.
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