Violent crimes increase in Kentucky during pandemic to highest level since 2008

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 4:38 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As the pandemic altered life in 2020, new crime statistics reveal the number of violent crimes committed in Kentucky increased to their highest levels in more than a decade.

Kentucky’s rate of violent crime rate of 259.1 cases per 100,000 people in 2020 was the highest since 2008 as the Great Recession impacted employment and people’s finances.

  • In 2020, there were 9,820 violent-crime incidents, and 11,349 offenses reported in Kentucky by 423 law enforcement agencies that submitted National Incident-Based Reporting System data, and covers 99% of the total population.
  • In Kentucky, the age group that had the most offenders and victims of violent crimes were those in their 20s.
  • The majority of violent crimes in Kentucky happened at a residence or home.
  • Two-thirds of violent crime victims in the state knew their offender in some way. Strangers made up an estimated 3,114 of the total 10,651 violent crime criminals.
  • Kentucky’s rate of homicide offenses in 2020 was the highest since 1995.
  • Kentucky’s rate of aggravated assaults in 2020 was the highest since 2000.

These and additional data are presented in the 2020 edition of the FBI’s annual report Crime in the United States.

Kentucky isn’t alone in seeing an increase in violent crimes.

For the first time in four years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased when compared with the previous year’s statistics, according to FBI figures released today. In 2020, violent crime was up 5.6 percent. Nationwide, the estimated rate of violent crime was 387.8 offenses per 100,000 people.

While violent crimes increased, the number of property crimes continued to decrease in Kentucky and the nation.

Nationwide, there were an estimated 6,452,038 property crimes. The estimated numbers for two of the three property crimes showed declines when compared with the previous year’s estimates. Burglaries dropped 7.4 percent, larceny-thefts decreased 10.6 percent, while motor vehicle thefts rose 11.8 percent. Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses estimated at $17.5 billion in 2020.

In Kentucky, almost half of the estimated 81,541 property crimes happened at a residence or home.

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