On a WFPL News Special Monday, Mayor Greg Fischer said urban crime is up across the country, but the city is reviewing national models to address the violence.
The chief of police told Metro Council members earlier this year that crime is up eight percent, and the crimes are more brazen—including a homicide in the Old Louisville neighborhood yesterday with an assault rifle.
“What we see about these is these are not random acts of violence; 80 percent of homicide victims know their assailant,” Fischer said. “So these are people that are typically dealing with criminal activity. Drugs are frequently involved. Obviously, handguns are in involved. They’re not random. The key is, how do you break this cycle?”
According to Metro Police, there have also been reports of gang recruitment in some neighborhoods, and council members have warned the city is ignoring the problem, and police should reinstitute a gang unit.
Fischer says Louisville doesn't have territorial criminal organizations like larger cities such as Chicago, and some people are trying to sensationalize the issue. “I don’t care if you call if a gang or a group or a posse or whatever, it’s all unacceptable,” he said. “And this is what the police force works on everyday. We talk about it because it’s a fact, but we want to remember that this is not random. If you’re obeying the law and not involved in some activity, as I say the best way to stay out of trouble is not get in trouble.”
The mayor has formed a 37-member task force to deal with systemic issues surrounding violent crime in the city in the long-term.
Later in the hour, Mayor Fischer addressed recent concerns about the discretionary spending of Councilmember Barbara Shanklin. The city auditor is conducting a review of questionable spending on a jobs program that Shanklin funded.
The mayor's spokesman has told media outlets it appears Shanklin's office didn't spend taxpayer dollars as intended. And the city's chief financial officer said there's an ongoing disagreement between Shanklin and the Fischer administration over documentation of city grants.
Fischer said Shanklin deserves a fair shake, but oversight of public funds is a top priority.