LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As if the increased gun violence we've seen in Louisville isn't bad enough, new numbers show crime is rising in what is statistically the safest part of town.
It was on the 900 block of Cherokee Road that Farren Collins and a 15-year-old accomplice allegedly shattered the feeling of safety people who live on that street have grown accustomed too.
The suspects are charged with sticking up two University of Louisville students with a semi automatic handgun, demanding cash, credit cards, a purse and cell phones.
The incident shook the victims so badly they didn't want to talk about it to WAVE 3 News.
It all happened right outside Paul Pennelly's building.
"Some of my neighbors have said that they've lived here for 20 plus years and this is the worst it's been," Pennelly said.
From armed robbery to a rash of less violent - but just as troubling - property thefts.
"Like these huge iron and copper bowls. And I guess people just pulled a truck up and took it," Pennelly said. "And then another woman who lives across the street, some folks broke into her home while she was sleeping. And they just took the laptop and a couple of the things that were downstairs."
Pennelly lives in the Louisville Metro Police Department's Fifth Division, which includes the Highlands, Clifton, Cherokee and Seneca Parks. But although it is one of the most desirable parts of Louisville it is dealing with an ugly problem; A 28 percent crime increase in the first 9 months of the year according to LMPD's preliminary uniform crime report. That's a bigger rise than any other section of the city.
"I do think this is a target rich environment," said LMPD Major Shara Parks, who oversees the Fifth Division. "I think it's a very densely populated area."
Parks said the driving factor behind the increase is auto thefts – which are up more than 83 percent. But there's also been a 52 percent spike in robberies and a 30 percent rise in aggravated assault.
In response, LMPD has held a number of crime walks in the area to reach out to residents and ask them to be more vigilant. Parks also wants neighbors to sign up for crime alerts so they know what to watch out for and to report crime as soon as it happens.
"Because we can't be everywhere at once," Parks said.
Parks said with crime decreasing in the Fifth Division over the last couple years, the pendulum was sure to swing back eventually. But statistics show those decreases were much smaller than the spike the area is seeing this year.
There's still less crime in this area than anywhere else in Louisville.
To see LMPD's latest uniform crime report for all parts of the city, click here.
To sign up for crime alerts, click here.