Police release violent crime statistics by district

By Eric Flack

(LOUISVILLE) -- Violent crime touches every Louisville neighborhood. Some areas deal with it yearly, some monthly and some daily. We wanted you to know which parts of Louisville are the most dangerous, and which are the safest. And the answers may surprise you. WAVE 3 Investigator Eric Flack has a breakdown of the numbers.

When violent crime cuts through the Louisville night bringing with it the screams of victims and sirens, for some people one place jumps to mind. The west end.

"I've heard that for years," said Lt. Col. Phillip Turner, head of the Patrol Divisions for the LMPD. But he says it's a myth.

"And this myth of the most violent crime the busiest divisions are in the west end, I'll tell you right now that's a myth."

The west end does have more than its share of violence, but it does not have the most. A review of violent crime statistics for 2006 revealed the most violent crime happens in the LMPD's fourth division. It stretches from Smoketown, to Old Louisville, through Churchill Downs, and down to the Beechmont area. The fourth division also includes the Park Duvall neighborhood and the children of the Duvall Education Center.

"You know we got one of the safest facilities in the fourth district," said Daryl Parker, who works at the center. "We got a lot of kids here and we got to protect our kids to provide for our future."

But outside the safe haven, the kids return home to streets peppered with robbery, assault and murder. Tyra Maddox knows it all too well.

"When I was staying with my mother a 13-year-old got shot in a drive by shooting," Maddox said. "An innocent bystander."

Maddox's goal is to save enough money to get her two year old daughter Tyrisha into a safer neighborhood before tragedy hits even closer to home.

But Portland resident Inez Hughes says she and her three year old daughter Alexis aren't going anywhere.

"I just bought a new home," Hughes said. "So I hope the area would change. I hope that it gets better."

Still, Inez says she is often too worried to let Alexis go outside. She wishes more people in her Portland neighborhood would get involved and help the police.

"They say they're scared," Hughes said. "But it shouldn't be about being scared. It should be about being safe."

In the fourth district, feeling safe is as rare as a night without violence.

Police say the reason the fourth district has the most violent crime is complex. Answers ranges from socio-economic issues to density issues. It has one of the most concentrated populations in Louisville. But when we looked at the numbers another densely populated area turned out to be the most safe.

The crime statistics obtained by WAVE 3 the least violent crime is right next door to the fourth, in the fifth police division. It includes the Highlands, Clifton, Crescent Hill and the Brownsboro Road area.

Highlands resident Mary Louise Padden feels so safe she doesn't mind jogging by herself after dark.

"I've had very few problems in the years that I have lived here," Padden said.

Police say it's not just because of more expensive homes.

"It's also the ownership of the neighborhood groups that have been longstanding," Colonel Turner said. "They have been very active in their neighborhoods. They're great partners with us."

"No matter what street I've lived on I've always known my neighbors," Mary said.

Even Highlands Metro Council members are involved, planning a forum on ways residents can keep their streets even safer.

"We've got to run to keep ahead of the criminals," District 8 Council Member Tom Owen said. He's planning the forum with Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh Saturday March 3rd, at Cralle Hall in the Wyatt Center for the Arts at Bellarmine University. It will happen from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

"The only way we can stay ahead of the criminals is to keep and build pubic involvement," Councilman Owen said.

With the memories of murders in the Highlands and Crescent Hill still fresh from last year, no one calls the area a crime-free zone.

"You always need to exercise common sense," Padden said.

But it's nice to know someone's looking over your shoulder if you get in trouble.

Police say they would like to see the same community involvement they get from the Highlands-Crescent Hill area in higher crime neighborhoods. They say reporting drug traffic is especially important because it's the drug deals that often lead to the violence.

Click here to find out crime statistics for your neighborhood or community.

Online Reporter: Eric Flack

Online Producer: Michael Dever