LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Crime is down but Louisville has had a "disturbing number of homicides" this year.
That's the news from Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad, as he gave his end of the year crime update to the Metro Council Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.
Conrad credits LMPD strategies for a reduction in most violent crime categories through October, which is the most recent month available. The stats Conrad highlighted are the data that all police departments provide to the FBI.
Total crime is down 4.9 percent, which is an 11 percent swing from October 2015. Numbers are down in every crime category except aggravated assault, which is up 4 percent.
Homicide numbers are not significantly lower this year. There have been 101 homicides so far in 2017.
"While that is down 8 percent from the 110 at this time last year, even one life lost is too many," Conrad said.
Conrad said he is encouraged by the support from the department. He told council members that there "many positive signs of improvement" but he said there is a "great deal of work to do"
Conrad outlined several success stories including Shotspotter, technology used to detect gunfire in targeted areas. It allows officers to arrive at scenes quicker -- even before a 911 can be made.
He said Shotspotter is partly responsible for a decrease in shootings. Last year, there were 434 shootings. As of Dec. 4, there have been 354 this year.
The Real Time Crime Center, Conrad said, provides valuable intelligence to officers investigating crimes.
The strategy of having the 9th Mobile Division target high crime areas and specific people responsible for violent crimes. The Division is credited with 849 felony charges and the seizure of 604 guns. More than half of the guns were taken from convicted felons.
The LMIntel task force has made dozens of felony arrests in connection with federal partners. A recent operation resulted in a 40-count indictment targeting the notorious Victory Park Crips gang and the seizure of several high-powered firearms.
Conrad also said targeted overtime for in high-crime areas has helped. He also answered questions about just how much overtime an officer can work and still be effective.
An WDRB News investigation last month found some officers working as much as 21 hour days and 84 days straight. But Conrad told Metro Council there are few controls on how many hours an officer can work.
"There is no maximum number of hours officers can work." He added, however, that for patrol officer, "the contract that we have with the FOP does prohibit officers from working off duty between their 12 hour shifts."
Conrad says he would never turn down more officers, but he cites employee retention. In the last 5 months, LMPD has lost 98 officers from the force -- most due to retirement because of the pension crisis in Frankfort.
That number is about what they had expected for an entire year and not just 9 months.
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