The ongoing black-pack phenomenon had been ignored in the past, but roving crowds of violence touched a nerve: It threatened the throngs that attend the city's annual Thunder Over Louisville event that kicks off the Kentucky Derby.
The prospect of families avoiding downtown Louisville translates into lost revenue for business owners and the government entities that tax them.
Mothers of the roving teens, however, insisted that arrests were racially motivated. Authorities stood down and allowed the thugs to go unpunished.
The outcome is a form of anarchy. Violent urban thugs are emboldened by the tepid tendencies of authorities to hold them accountable for violent crime. Consequently, crime in Louisville is increasing.
Reports say there have been 53 homicides in the city during the first seven months of the year. 205 people have been shot.
Louisville is one of 18 cities in the USA with a population between 500,000 and 800,000 people. It is listed as one of the safest of those cities, ranking fourth.
The Louisville area has a population exceeding 700,000 with about 300,000 living in the city proper where most violent crimes are committed. That's slightly less than the population of Iceland (323,000) that reported no homicides year to date. Iceland, incidentally, is known for its low crime rate among a population that is saturated with guns.
Sociologists ponder the low crime rate in Iceland and wonder what compels so many people to live in relative harmony when compared to urban centers in the United States. None attribute Iceland's low crime rate to the proliferation of guns and, of course, none point to the nation's homogeneous white population. Rather, they suspect the lack of income disparity somehow causes Icelanders to live in peace.
Sociologists are known to be self-delusional.
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We often hear the stories of homicide victims, but the stories of people who actually survive violent attacks often are left untold or forgotten.
Not a day goes by that Sheronda Morris doesn't count her blessings. On January 12, 2013, a fight broke out at a nightclub called The View. Morris was hit by a stray bullet.
"It went through my hand and the same bullet shattered my clavicle collar bone and hit my cervical six and my spinal cord and stayed lodged in the back of my shoulder for six months," Morris said.
Morris was told she would be paralyzed, but she knew that wasn't how she was going to live out her life. She went through extensive physical therapy and was determined to prove doctors wrong. She did, making it her mission to speak out and stand up against gun violence.
"Look at me now. I'm walking again," Morris said. "I'm doing much better."
On Friday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad addressed the elimination of the city's VIPER Unit. It has been rebranded and renamed the 9th Mobile Division. The new division will be made up of detectives from the VIPER Unit and Operation Trust, including federal agents. They will be focused on high-crime areas throughout the city.
Conrad said so far this year, there have been 53 homicides, and more than 205 people have been shot in Louisville as of the end of July.
"This year we've had an increase in violent crimes that have certainly got the attention of everyone in our city," Fischer said.
"We've had Operation Trust in place since October, and that was in response in the increase in homicides that we've seen in January and February," Conrad said. "February was a particularly violent month. Typically we would have one or two homicides [in February]. We had 12."
Fischer added that Louisville is among 18 cities in America with a population between a half-million and 800,000 people. Fischer said according to FBI crime statistics, the city is the fourth safest of those 18 cities.
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