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'It's a win, but the losses are not minimal'; Shootings are down in Louisville

Both homicides and non-fatal shootings are down compared to last year, but after marking a new record in 2021...is it viewed as a success?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For people who watch the news in Louisville, it probably does not feel like the number of shootings is down this year.

The city is in its third year of triple-digit homicides and set a homicide record in 2020 and 2021, with 173 and 188 homicides respectively.

With two months left to go this year, deadly crimes have not been as frequent.

As of Nov. 3, there have been 134 homicides in the Metro this year. The most recent homicides was of a 21-year-old man, who was shot and killed in the Newburg neighborhood on Halloween.

This time last year, that number was 154, according to an LMPD spokesperson. That's a drop of 13%.

According to the unofficial weekly data released by LMPD on Wednesday, the number of non-fatal shootings is down 29% from 482 to 340 as of Oct. 30.

"I'm going to take it as a win, but the losses are not minimal," Darryl Young Jr., executive director of the Coalition Supporting Young Adults in Louisville, said.

Young used to be a 1-1 mentor to "opportunity youth" age 16-24, but now he oversees an organization that does grant writing, fundraising and organizing with several other groups.

"These programs work, but there is still a level of severity to what's going on in our city right now," he said.

Young has worked 10 years connecting youth to resources like housing, food and education in an effort to curb violence.

"Crime is a measure of what people are willing to do when they don't have access to resources," he said. "People don't want to do bad. It's not in their nature to bad, but they struggle. And there's reasons why they struggle."

RELATED: Metro Council discusses Group Violence Intervention program with LMPD

LMPD leadership believes the decline in shootings is credit to programs like the ones Young is involved with, and police efforts to get closer to the community.

"We're part of that decline because we're more intentional about being in the community," LMPD Deputy Police Chief Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel said. 

Gwinn-Villaroel specifically mentioned the department's Youth Advisory Council as a tool they have been using. That is a group of young adults who meet with police twice a month to discuss community concerns, and also plan events.

"It's more of just a 'let your hair down' with LMPD," Cherrail Ralston, a 21-year-old college student on the council, said. "You feel more comfortable knowing that they know you personally."

While Gwinn-Villaroel is happy to see the decline, she said crime is nowhere near where they want it to be.

"We're talking about the numbers but we're understanding that still, one murder is way too many," she said.

Young feels Louisville is a crossroads right now. He hopes people will recognize the barriers many people face in the city, and think about ways they can be part of the solution.

"I think it's really easy to ignore all of those things and just say that we're a great city. We are great. We have the possibility to be great. But there's a lot of issues we have to be serious about," Young said.

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