Lexington homicide rate on fastest pace in 20 years

Published: Apr. 9, 2018 at 5:17 PM EDT
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Lexington police say it has been since 1998 since the city had 10 homicide cases this early in the year.

Police say out of the 24 homicides that occurred in 1998, 10 happened by Mar. 15.

The Georgetown Street corridor of Lexington experienced multiple cases of gun violence over the weekend, including a deadly Friday night shooting which claimed the life of 19-year-old Devon Guest. Guest was the city's 10th homicide victim in 2018.

"It's tough for us to hear gunshots," Jacques Wigginton, who lives in the area, says, "It's unfortunate because it really gets a blemish that it doesn't deserve."

While police increase patrols in the area, officers are concerned this trend could continue as the weather gets warm. 2017, which was a record-setting year for homicides in Lexington, saw a bulk of its cases in the latter half of the year.

"71 percent of all of our homicides last year occurred toward the end of the year from July to December," Lexington police lieutenant Albert Johnson said, "There's really no rhyme or reason as to why those numbers fluctuate."

Lexington is currently on pace to eclipse 30 homicide cases in 2018, which would break the 2017 record of 28.

All 10 Lexington homicides occurred involved guns, and half of the victims were teenagers. Wigginton believes parents need to play a larger role in guiding children to avoid a path toward gun violence.

"Our problem is with us as adults that we haven't created the environment for them to be successful," Wigginton says.

Police have announced arrests in half the cases. Most of the cases have stemmed from a drug-related dispute.

Supervisors meet weekly to discuss problem areas and devote more resources to those locations, but they say that strategy often moves crime locations to other portions of the city.