Low crime rates welcome news

State Rep. John Sims Jr.

Several weeks ago, Kentucky got some welcome news after learning that, once again, we have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation.

According to the FBI, the country saw 366.7 violent offenses occurring per 100,000 people in 2019. Kentucky’s numbers, meanwhile, were 40 percent lower – and better than the rate found in 41 other states, including Tennessee, whose violent crime rate was more than double ours.

Just as the FBI takes an annual look at crime across the country, the Kentucky State Police has been doing the same for the commonwealth. Its report on 2019 showed that not just our violent crime is going down; all serious offenses declined on average by four percent when comparing them to 2018’s numbers.

Some of the areas to see double-digit percentage drops in a single year include arson – which was down a fifth – burglary, fraud and sex-related crimes. Homicides were down almost a tenth.

Fewer crimes mean fewer arrests, and the KSP report shows 61,000 fewer people were taken into police custody last year than in 2018. Arrests for less-serious crimes, such as trespassing and disorderly conduct, were down significantly, as well.

It’s almost certain these statistics will be even lower when 2020’s totals are tabulated, given the impact COVID-19 has had on our way of life.

It is important to remember that our law enforcement agencies are the ones investigating every single one of the cases in these annual reports. Here in Kentucky, we have about 8,600 sworn officers and 2,500 civilian employees who work alongside them. Nationally, there are 700,000 sworn officers and 306,000 civilian employees. To put those numbers in perspective, that means fewer than four people out of every 1,000 Americans are serving in these agencies.

If you would like to learn more about the numbers behind these two crime reports, you can find the first at FBI.Gov and KSP’s at KentuckyStatePolice.org/crime-traffic-data/.

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