Mayor Greg Fischer and Police Chief Steve Conrad | Photo by Melissa Chipman

While crime in Louisville is down 4 percent for the first six months of 2017, the homicide rate has sharply increased over the same period in 2016, which was already a record high. According to LMPD crime statistics released on Tuesday, there have been 11 more murders than the same period last year, an increase of 20 percent.

Shootings are down to 235 this year from 264 last year, but more of those have resulted in fatalities, the report shows. There have been 66 murders so far. In 2015, there were 81 murders for the entire year.

“Opioids are at the root of a lot of these issues,” Mayor Greg Fischer said at a press conference Tuesday morning. Fischer said that overdose rates are two times the homicide rate. He said he recently spoke to the mayor of Dayton, who told him that in his city the overdose rate is five times that of homicides. There has been an 11 percent increase in overdose deaths this year; Fischer expects that half of those are opioid-related.

Even factoring in the rise in the homicide rate, violent crime is down 5 percent. Other data points from the report show that rape is down 15 percent; robbery is down 14 percent; and aggravated assaults are down 0.5 percent. The number of non-fatal shootings is down 18 percent compared to this point last year.

Overall, crime is down across all eight police patrol divisions.

  • First Division (Downtown area, Portland, Russell and Phoenix Hill neighborhoods): Down 10.3 percent
  • Second Division (Shawnee, Chickasaw and Park DuValle neighborhoods): Down 5.5 percent
  • Third Division (Iroquois Park, Pleasure Ridge Park, Valley Station and Fairdale): Down 2.7 percent
  • Fourth Division ( Smoketown, Churchill Downs, the Fairgrounds, South Louisville and Old Louisville):  Down 4.2 percent
  • Fifth Division (Highlands, Clifton and Cherokee and Seneca Park areas): Down 7 percent
  • Sixth Division (Audubon Park, Newburg, Norfolk, the airport and GE): Down 2.3 percent
  • Seventh Division (Okolona, Fern Creek, Ford plant and the Jefferson Mall): Down 0.13 percent
  • Eighth Division (Middletown, Lyndon, Oxmoor and the Ford Truck Plant): Down 0.07 percent

However, in some neighborhoods, the murder rate has skyrocketed. In the First Division, it is up 140 percent, and in the Eighth Division, where there had been no murders last year at this point, there have been three so far this year.

Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad said that of the 69 major U.S. cities reporting crime statistics in the first half of 2017, more than half of those cities reported an increase in homicides.

Anecdotally, Conrad said, it seems as though juvenile crime is up but he did not have the statistics for that. Fischer urged parents to monitor their teenagers’ social media as “beefs” often originate online and then move into the streets. He also urged people to intervene as early as possible if they know someone is at the risk of becoming addicted to drugs and to call the LMPD anonymous tip-line if they see any drug activity in their neighborhood.

Conrad said that the ShotSpotter technology, which relays the location of any shot fired within the six square miles it covers back to the LMPD, has received 309 notices since it was installed in late May. He said that the technology was giving the LMPD “their money’s worth.” The notifications have led to a number of arrests and gun seizures.

Fischer lauded Conrad’s efforts and that of the LMPD saying that he believes the city has “the right team in place” to face this situation. On Wednesday, Conrad faces a possible vote of no confidence from City Council, which Fischer called “a major distraction.”

A detailed breakdown of the numbers is available online.

Tonight is National Night Out, during which neighbors can join local law enforcement for cookouts and parties. The location for each division’s party is below.