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LMPD claims homicide rate has dropped 69 percent; we crunched the numbers

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 3:56 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 7:23 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In a recent Louisville Metro Police Department newsletter, LMPD wrote there has been a 69-percent reduction in homicides in a two-month period, but provided no context as to which numbers it used to get there, and some neighbors haven’t noticed a difference.

LMPD did not respond to a request for an interview, so WAVE 3 News tried to crunch the numbers to find the 69-percent reduction in homicides in a two-month period.

First, WAVE 3 News compared the July and August average homicide rate to May’s and June’s average homicide rate, then calculated the percentage difference and found a 15-percent decrease.

Then, WAVE 3 News averaged July’s and August’s homicide rate, and found 17. Then, calculating the homicide rate from January through June, WAVE 3 News found the monthly average to be 16, showing there was an increase in the homicide rate by an average of one.

No matter which way the numbers were spun, things didn’t add up.

Collette Banks said she’s lived in the Portland neighborhood for 20 years, and has watched the community change.

“It was nice, quiet, peaceful, no problems, like you were in the suburbs,” Banks said. “Now it’s just terrible.”

Banks told WAVE 3 News she did not believe LMPD’s statement saying there has been a 69 percent drop in homicides over the most recent two-month period.

“I’m sorry, but no,” she said. “I feel like I’m trapped in my own house. I’m trapped, and I can’t do anything. My house is paid for, I just paid it off, and it’s like I can’t even enjoy it. It’s just not safe to enjoy your own home.”

Despite the discrepancy, LMPD credited the reduction in the homicide rate in part to its violent-crime detail, which sends officers into crime “hot spots” in the city, and encourages police to engage with the people who live there.

“The crime detail operates twice a week, and is comprised of officers from all over the city, including members of the executive command staff” the newsletter reads. Officers have been focusing on the two areas in the city with the most crime: the 2nd and 4th divisions.

“After two months, data shows a cumulative slowing in the pace of violence (in the 2nd and 4th divisions),” the newsletter said.

According to the newsletter, in addition to the 69-percent homicide rate reduction citywide, there has been a 95-percent homicide rate reduction in the 2nd division, and a 72-percent homicide rate decrease in the 4th division.

An LMPD source told WAVE 3 News it’s possible the department is referring to the frequency of homicides when stating there has been a 69-percent reduction in the homicide rate.

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