Beechmont neighborhood residents say criminals are taking over

(LOUISVILLE) -- Residents in the Beechmont neighborhood near Iroqouis Park say they are scared and recently took their concerns to police. But what are the cops going to do about it? After receiving a number of complaints over the past month police have called a meeting with neighbors for Thursday night. As WAVE 3 Investigator Eric Flack reports, they are sure to get an earful from some upset, even scared residents who have been witnessing a disturbing trend.

Early Tuesday morning, a man is shot six times after an argument in the Iroquois Homes public housing development. It's the type of scene LMPD Lt. Greg Mitchell has come to expect in the Fourth Division.

"The Fourth Division by far is the busiest police division in the department," Mitchell says. "Generally, our crime rates are higher in every single category with the exception of murder."

In the Beechmont neighborhood, residents used to feel insulated from all the crime.
Not anymore.

"When we first moved here it was really quiet. And now it just seems like everything is turned upside down because the kids are running the streets basically," says resident Rebecca Shearin.

She calls it general mayhem. Police think it's being caused by local high school hoodlums cutting school, then creating a wake of destruction on their way down to the local hangout: the Ioquois Library.

In the past couple months, someone threw a brick through the window of Shearin's SUV, the park next door was vandalized and just a couple weeks ago a man was attacked in his truck just a couple blocks from the library. Police say overall, the numbers don't show a increase in violent crime from previous years, but Lt. Mitchell says the rise in graffiti, public intoxication and destruction can't be ignored.

"This is the type of thing that if it's not addressed, within the next few months or a year, we could have much more serious problems down the road," says Mitchell.

Police have stepped up patrols in the area and begun outlining ways to keep the troublemakers out. But Lt. Mitchell says it wont happen overnight, leaving Rebecca Shearin with one question: "What next, what is going to happen next."

Despite the extra patrols WAVE 3 saw out Tuesday, the head of the Beechmont Neighborhood Association is concerned the area isn't getting the police coverage it once did and that Fourth Division officers are focusing more on Old Louisville.

In fact, some neighbors are complaining about outright harassment in the Beechmont area. Those complaints are sure to be part of the conversation on Thursday night.

Online Reporter:  Eric Flack

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway