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City says task force leads to decrease in crime

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Police Chief Ronnie Bastin gave the community a report on the progress made by the Violent Crimes Task Force.

During an eight-day span in early October, at least ten people were shot. One man, 34-year-old Vincent Miles was murdered. The city formed the Violent Crimes Task Force shortly after to address the sharp increase in shootings.

“Neighbors are reporting that there has been a decrease in the violence. No one is claiming victory and we all know we must remain vigilant, but that’s a clear step forward,” Gray said.

Because of that, Chief Bastin said police will now dial back on its concentrated enforcement efforts. Bastin said that the crimes involving gun violence were isolated incidents. In the end, the only similarity among most of the incidents was the involvement of illicit drugs.

“With the exception of a few cases where innocent bystanders were harmed, most of the people injured in these violent crimes had some connection to, or involvement with, the illegal drug trade,” Bastin said. “That’s a problem we will never really solve, but we will be ready to step in again if the need arises.”

Police say the task force completed 205 field investigations, made 47 arrests and filed dozens of charges related to a variety of offenses, including drug crimes, weapons violations and pre-existing warrants.

Gray said police will keep working to find the root causes.

“These are demanding economic times when many people are desperate and crime can easily increase,” the Mayor said. “But demanding times bring out the strength and spirit of our community because every citizen, every police officer knows that Lexington is worth standing up for. Lexington is worth protecting. With the support of many good citizens in our northside neighborhoods and beyond, that’s what our police have done. That’s what they continue to do.”

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