Tuesday August 29, 2006
Will Share Community Policing Strategies
Mayor Jerry Abramson and Police Chief Robert White will leave later today for Washington, D.C. to participate in national meetings seeking solutions to violent crime increases.
Mayors and police chiefs from more than 50 cities across the country will take part in a summit on Wednesday sponsored by the Police Executive Research Forum. On Thursday, Abramson and White will participate in a strategy session with mayors and chiefs from eight other cities sponsored by U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“We hope to learn from each other,” Abramson said. “It’s a chance to share strategies that are working in some cities and discuss common problems, such as the decline in federal funding.”
Cities across America are reporting spikes in violent crime after nearly a decade of declines in murder, assault, robbery and rape. Homicides increased by 5 percent in 2005, according to FBI statistics.
After hitting a high mark of 66 murders in 2004, Louisville has bucked the trend in killings that other cities have experienced. Last year, 60 people were murdered, a 9 percent decline. So far this year, 33 people have been killed compared with 47 at this same point in 2005. This translates into a 30% decrease in murders in 2006 when comparing year-to-date statistics.
“We can take little comfort in the decline because even one murder is one murder too many,” Abramson said.
While in Washington, Abramson and White will meet with leaders from Boston, Miami and Philadelphia, as well as other major regional cities including Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Memphis.
The summit sponsored by PERF, a national police research and policy group, will include a statistical overview of violent crimes in urban areas. In the afternoon session, cities will share strategies that have been successful in combating violent crime.
Abramson and Chief White will share information about the city’s community policing initiatives. Louisville will highlight its success with the 574-LMPD crime tip line, the 230 new block watch groups, the Citizen Observer email notification initiative, the creation of flex platoons in each police district and the Violent Crimes Task Force.
“We’ve been successful with our community policing efforts in Louisville because our officers have reached out to residents and encouraged them to join with us in fighting crime,” White said. “Our citizens understand that they may not wear a badge, but they are the eyes and ears of this department.”
At the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ meeting on Thursday, mayors and chiefs will discuss strategies to increase federal funding for local police departments and begin crafting recommendations for a national violent crime prevention agenda.
Abramson and White will return to Louisville on Thursday.