Speaking at the Ali Center on Thursday, Mayor Greg Fischer recounted the week last year leading up to the funeral for boxing great Muhammad Ali. It was a week without homicides and the city, he said, united in an incredible way for the Champ’s sendoff.
“Like any city, we have problems to overcome. It’s not enough for Louisville just to be the hometown of ‘The Greatest’; We have to aspire to be the greatest ourselves,” he said.
The mayor then continued, “I want to focus on homicides tonight because it’s a big issue, obviously, and something citizens ask me about a lot as I travel around the city.”
In fact, so far this year, there have been 66 homicides in the Metro, which is 10 more than at this time last year. In 2016, there were 117 homicides, making it the deadliest year since 1971.
Fischer on Thursday introduced a six-point plan aimed at reducing and preventing crime. The plan’s pillars include enforcement, intervention, prevention, community mobilization, organizational change and re-entry.
Fischer said he was dedicated to providing the Louisville Metro Police Department with the support it needs to get the most violent criminals off the street. He said 55 new positions had been added at LMPD, but his plan is a call to action for all.
“Just hiring more officers and getting more arrests will not get the job done alone,” he said.
On Thursday, he outlined opportunities for individuals, churches and businesses to get involved, asking them to ‘be the one’ to make a difference. It means not only mentoring the city’s youth but calling in tips on violent crimes — crimes that in recent months have affected even the most innocent of victims.
“This violence is usually not random,” Fischer said, saying most homicides were gang and drug related, “But as we’ve seen in heartbreaking cases like Neriah Miller and Dequante Hobbs Jr., bullets don’t care who they hit.”
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad, who listened to the mayor’s plan, said his officers need the community’s help. “Numbers are starting to move in the right direction, but as long as homicides are up, as long as we continue to have shootings in our community, we have more work to do,” Conrad said.
And that work, according to the mayor, starts with all those who call Louisville home. “Anything is possible when we come together. Let’s write that story together. Joins us. Be the one,” Fischer said.
The mayor also said in order to reduce violent crimes in Louisville, more needs to be done on the state and federal level, including stricter gun control laws and welfare reform.