Ky. homicide rates drop for the third straight year, state police report says By:

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By Taylor SixLexington Herald-Leader

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the third year in a row, homicide rates in Kentucky have dropped statewide, according to a new crime data report from Kentucky State Police.

Released Monday, the 2023 Crime in Kentucky Report details crimes in Kentucky, the occurrence by county, and the rate compared to previous years’ reports.

For the last three years, homicide rates have been declining, according to the report. In 2022, state police recorded 571 homicides. In 2023, the number dropped nearly 2%, with 562 recorded homicide offenses. In 2021, 647 homicide offenses were recorded.

The annual data indicates crime rates remained stable with a decline in offenses for homicide, burglary, robbery, sex offenses, kidnapping and gambling.

“Protecting Kentucky’s 120 counties requires a collaboration between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and I am proud to say that our state does this well,” KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr . said. “It is because of this that we are seeing progress being made every day. I encourage Kentuckians to stay vigilant of their surroundings, take notice of changes and remain focused on protecting our most vulnerable population – our children.”

Human trafficking, animal cruelty increases

The report suggests two large increases in reported offenses in serious crimes — human trafficking and animal cruelty. From 2022 to 2023, human trafficking offenses rose 39% — from 43 reported offenses to 60.

State officials believe the rise in human trafficking reports may be related to an increase in training for law enforcement, service and education professionals, as well as a nationwide push for heightened community awareness.

Animal cruelty continues to be on the rise, some of which may be because individuals who are reported for animal cruelty often are abusing multiple animals at one time.

Homicides drop in Fayette County

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Homicide offenses in Fayette County reflect the decline in the state’s report. As of June 28, Fayette County had reported seven reported homicides, the latest being 57-year-old Charles McDowell.

From 2019 to 2022, Lexington set and re-set its homicide record for four straight years. That stopped in 2023.

Six of the seven homicide cases this year feature an arrest, according to police data. In 2023, Lexington reported 24 homicides, fewer than the record-breaking year of 2022, when 44 killings took place.

The last time Lexington reported 24 or fewer homicides in a year was in 2018, according to Lexington police data, which dates back to 2008.

In the past 10 years, the city has reported 24 or fewer homicides only three times, according to Lexington police records.

Hate crimes in Kentucky decrease

The rate at which hate crimes occurred in the state also decreased, according to the report.

A hate crime is committed against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by bias against a race, gender, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual orientation.

In Kentucky, the largest reported bias motivation was racial — at 54%. The second largest percentage was sexual orientation, followed by religion, gender identity, and disability.

Of the 54% of racially motivated hate crimes, nearly 75% were directed toward “anti-Black or African American,” according to the report. In 2022, the number of racially motivated hate crimes was 61%, but the number of crimes directed towards “anti-Black or African American” remained the same.

The most common offenses involving hate-bias were assault and destruction, damage, and/or vandalism of property, according to the report. The most frequently reported locations of hate-bias crimes in 2023 were at residences, followed by elementary or secondary schools, and highways, roadways, or streets.

The report’s statistics

The statistics published within the report are collected through the receipt of offense and arrest data, which are submitted to the KSP by law enforcement agencies throughout the commonwealth. Statistics are a snapshot of offense and arrest data at the time of release. Reports received after the release date and updates to previously submitted data can affect prior totals.

KSP requires law enforcement to submit their data through the National Incident-Based Reporting System, the standard reporting system for the FBI.

Louisville Metro Police Department , Winchester Police Department, Owensboro Police Department and Nelson County Sheriff’s Office submit through their own system.

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