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Richmond, KY
5:07 pm, April 16, 2024
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Crime Stats on the Rise in the Bluegrass…Are you safe?

Are You Safe? : A Special Report

Community Editorial by JT Elliott

Police officers uphold the law and protect citizens, saving lives every year. Nevertheless, in Kentucky, the Federal Bureau of Information’s latest statistics show an increase from 2019 of 220 violent crimes per 100,000 people to 259 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2020. As disturbing as some crime stories are, turning off the news doesn’t make this problem go away. Raising the question: Are you safe?

America’s largest populated cities implemented Defund the Police strategies. Reallocating funding away from police departments to social workers and housing programs. A product of frustration after George Floyd’s arrest and death by police in Minneapolis. Additionally, riots and protests across the country occurred.

Minneapolis popularized the defunding idea and has seen heightened crime since. Seattle called cutting their law enforcement budget by 50 percent a mistake. Meanwhile, New Orleans has a police shortage of over 500 officers. A need the city recognizes as it recently claimed the title of Murder Capitol of America as based upon data from the Metropolitan Crime Commission. It is a problem so important that Mayor LaToya Cantrell said could lead to canceling the largest tourism event of the year, Mardi Gras.  This would occur if an adequate amount of police hires are not made. 

It is an issue not just in large metropolitan cities, but also close to home.  Violent crime resides in our bluegrass.  Last weekend, the city of Lexington surpassed last year’s homicide rate at 38 incidents. Two and a half months of the calendar remain, indicating that the city will significantly surpass that number. Similar to New Orleans, the Lexington Police Department has had difficulty meeting full officer capacity as well.

What about Richmond? Are you and I safe? Are our families and children safe? Kentucky’s seventh largest city has a police department of over 65 sworn officers, nevertheless, vacant positions remain. To make the career more attractive, the department raised new police recruit pay last July.  Starting pay for new recruits who complete police academy is currently $56,612. That figure is $3,902 more than a new Lexington police officer recruit who completes the academy.  The largest division of RPD is the patrol division which works 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Despite this, there is still public concern, specifically over violent crimes such as robbery, assault, and homicide.

Police departments across the nation, including RPD, have taken a proactive approach in hopes of reducing crime.  The approach is building relationships through community involvement.  These supportive measures are useful in making citizens proactive in preventing crime.  At the heart of the approach are positive interactions. Last month, September, RPD visited a childcare center for community helper week, partnered with a local church for fellowship and discussion, participated in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Madison Central High School, and educated adults about law enforcement careers through their Citizens Police Academy. These community efforts are only going to expand and grow. 

Members of society should strive for law and order regardless of their disputes. Like an orchestra performing a beautifully sounding piece of music, every person must do their part. This is partially accomplished by respecting the boundaries that police must lead with toughness. Likewise, police must serve their citizens with tenderness. This level of unity serves as an antidote to society’s ailments.

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