Photo by Tony Pacheco

Louisville Metro Police Department records show there have been 65 criminal homicides in Jefferson County so far this year, which is a 24 percent decrease from the 86 at this point last year.

However, if murders continue at the same pace throughout the rest of 2018, the annual total would still rank as the fourth-highest of the last 39 years — with the top three years all occurring in the previous three years of 2015, 2016 and 2017.

At this point last year, there were 84 criminal homicides within the jurisdiction of the LMPD, with 86 countywide when including smaller police departments. The countywide total would go on to reach 110 in 2017, which tied 1971 as the second-highest number of criminal homicides in the history — only surpassed by the record 122 in 2016.

The number of murders in Louisville this year would reach 82 if they continued at the same pace, which would be just shy of the 86 criminal homicides in 2015. Previous to 2015, the last time the number of murders countywide surpassed 80 was 39 years ago in 1979, when there were 92.

Statistics via Louisville Metro Police Department

According to LMPD’s latest weekly homicide report, 58 percent of the murder victims this year are black, while nearly 30 percent are 24 years old or younger.

Shootings have also decreased this year compared to this point in 2017 with 213 to date, a 9 percent decrease from 234 shootings that year. Of these victims in 2018, 69 percent are black and 43 percent are 24 years old or younger.

The historic rise in homicides in recent years has been a prominent subject in Louisville’s mayoral race this year, as Republican Councilwoman Angela Leet has laid the blame at the feet of two-term Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer and his police chief, Steve Conrad.

Fischer has countered these attacks from Leet by pointing to the decrease in homicides, violent crime and property crime so far this year, in addition to noting the context that other peer cities in the region like Nashville and Indianapolis have also witnessed record-high homicides in recent years.

Louisville had two murders this past weekend, which were the first two in the month of October.

Joe Sonka

Joe Sonka

Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]