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Louisville, Kentucky is Ground Zero for America's Homicide Crisis

By Josh Crawford & Abigail Hall

Violent crime is on American minds again. A recent poll from Morning Consult/Politico found that 78 percent of voters believe that violent crime is a “major problem” in the United States, and nearly as high a percentage thought that the problem is getting worse.

They’re right – especially when it comes to murder. In 2020, the U.S. murder rate increased by nearly 30 percent.

Media attention has mainly focused on large coastal cities, with the exception of Chicago. While crime in high-profile cities is important, it’s midsize cities in the middle of the country that have seen the largest increases in violent crime. Murder has exploded in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Birmingham, for example – but perhaps no city better illustrates this reality than Louisville.

Located on the Ohio River, Louisville is best known around the country as host of the fastest two minutes in sports and the home of great bourbon. For much of its recent history, Louisville has enjoyed relatively low rates of violent crime and homicide. From 1980 to 2015, for example, Louisville averaged just 54 homicides a year. But in 2015, Louisville surpassed 80 homicides for the first time since 1979. In 2016, the city had its then-deadliest year ever, with 117 murders.

Over the next few years, the city observed similar rates of violence. Then things exploded. In 2020, Louisville saw 173 murders. If New York City had Louisville’s 2020 murder rate, it would have seen 2,465 murders instead of the 496 it suffered. In Louisville, 2021 looks even worse: through the first 8 months of the year, there were 23 murders per every 100,000 residents. That puts the city’s murder rate above those of Philadelphia (22.7), Atlanta (21.7), and Chicago (20.5).

Continue reading this piece on RealClear Policy HERE

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