Breaking News
More () »

Louisville Police concerned about rise in domestic violence crimes

Mayor Greg Fischer recently echoed concerns Louisville Police have voiced for weeks: Domestic violence is contributing to more deaths so far in 2022.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Both Louisville's Mayor and the Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields say violent deaths stemming from within the household are increasing at a troubling rate.

In his final budget briefing Thursday, Mayor Greg Fischer echoed concerns Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) have voiced for weeks: Domestic violence is contributing to a larger percentage of the overall homicides so far in 2022.

By one count on LMPD's latest podcast, Chief Shields said based on current data, deaths tied to domestic violence are trending toward a 200-percent increase compared to 2021 if this pattern continues.

As of April 24, the latest LMPD data shows 17 percent, or nine of the 54 homicides so far this year, have come within the household.

Most recently, it was the murder of a woman in Old Louisville, found dead in an apartment. Her boyfriend is accused of shooting her.

WHAS11 took the numbers to The Center for Women and Families, asking what needs to change. President and CEO Elizabeth Wessels-Martin said part of the issue is how these cases are perceived.

"The city, society sees it as a personal problem. It is not. It is a community problem," she said. "We have got to start treating domestic violence the way we do any other violence. A homicide is a homicide. An assault is an assault."

Wessels-Martin also said part of the issue is how these cases are handled, including in the early stages. She said responsibility also falls on the criminal justice system to hold domestic violence in as high severity as other cases, when it comes to decisions like bond and sentencing of offenders.

"In my opinion, that's where we're missing [the mark]. Perpetrators aren't [always] detained. They're often out on probation," she said.

There also are calls for more funding for victim advocates, allowing them to better offer services directly out in neighborhoods, and creating more environments where people feel comfortable to come forward and share their concerns.

One report from the National Library of Medicine shows domestic violence offenses lead to around 40 deaths in Kentucky per year. 

That same report also states around one out of every four of those cases has some type of domestic violence report listed prior to the homicide.

During a one-on-one interview in late March, Chief Shields said these cases are often harder to get a handle on.

"Sometimes there are indicators, but sometimes there are not," Shields said. "And so it's going to be critical that we really work with our nonprofits and our partners to ensure that victims of domestic violence know that there's a support system for them."

She also said despite seeing a decrease in overall violent crime so far in 2022, homicides continue to trend higher.

Resources for victims, survivors 

If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, please know help is available.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is staff with professionals who can help get you out of an unsafe situation. The hotline is available 24/7, to get in contact call 1-800-799-7233.

For additional resource in Kentucky and Indiana, please click here.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Before You Leave, Check This Out