Shootings in Louisville up by more than 150 percent during coronavirus outbreak

Shootings in Louisville up by more than 150 percent during coronavirus outbreak

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The number of shootings in Louisville during the coronavirus crisis has more than doubled compared to the same time last year.

In the past couple of weeks, it has appeared like there’s been one shooting after another. While the homicide total stayed relatively the same, it’s the number of people shot that drastically spiked.

From the time period between March 6 and April 12, there were 48 new shooting victims, compared to the same time period in 2019 when there were only 19.

"This is unacceptable in our city," Council President David James said. "We have to address it."

James said he thinks that because of the global health emergency, the spike has gone largely under the radar except for those directly impacted.

Just in the past week, WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters found out 90 percent of all the shootings this past week happened outside. It’s times like this, James said, that a smaller police department isn’t helping.

“Because of the lack of officers ... we don’t have the officers in the areas that we need them in,” James said.

WAVE 3 News reported how a record number of officers have left LMPD to work at other departments, either because of morale issues, or early retirement due to pension worries.

Another problem James spoke about was the recent announcement that LMPD was not responding to certain calls like burglaries. That was a policy that Chief Steve Conrad reversed this week.

Christopher 2X of the community activist group which focuses on young lives being impacted by violence, Game Changers, said Conrad’s announcement of restricting responses had an immediate effect.

“They blasted that on the internet,” 2X said. “The young teenagers did. They basically looked at that and thought, ‘We got an open situation for us to do what we want to do without any serious consequences as far as LMPD responding to these issues.’"

“They feel like a target, as in some young person, a target in the neighborhood is much easier to get to now under this virus atmosphere,” 2X added.

Game Changers recently reported on the impact of violence on youth which was presented in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A look at the latest statistics showed teenagers in Louisville are some of the most impacted.

Just last week, 13 of the shooting victims were between the ages of 11 and 17, while three of the suspects were in that age range as well. Some the latest homicide victims have been teens, too.

“The young ones are kind of on this purge mentality,” 2X said, describing teens with guns, not fearing the virus, the violence or any consequences. That’s something James echoed, too.

“Some of the people doing the shooting are doing it simply as bragging rights sometimes,” James said.

LMPD has implemented the use of coronavirus overtime for its officers. The overtime has been available for a couple of weeks while the number of shootings has continued to rise.

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