WKYT Investigates | Serious crimes down in Kentucky, but someone falls victim every 2 minutes

Published: Jul. 30, 2019 at 4:27 PM EDT
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The number of serious crimes in Kentucky decreased in 2018 marking the first drop in five years, according to Kentucky State Police.

In the newly release annual crime statistics, the 275,931 offenses ranging from thefts to homicides were down 2.28 percent compared to 2017. While the number dropped, it still equates to a serious crime being committed approximately every two minutes in Kentucky.

Cases of animal cruelty made the biggest decline dropping 29.19 percent while bribery offenses showed a sharp 45.83 percent increase in 2017.

Other serious crimes showing big year-over-year increases included a 32.97 percent increase in pornography/obscene material offenses and a 26.67 percent increase in forcible sex offenses such as rape.

When it comes to investigators clearing or solving the case, there is a big disparity between violent crimes and property crimes. Investigators cleared the majority of violent crimes -- assault, homicide, kidnapping/abduction, robbery, and forcible sex offenses -- saying in many of those cases "the perpetrator is known, recognizable, or in some way usually associated with the victim."

"The serious crimes are often more the more violent crimes, and it's easier to connect the victim to the perpetrator because they are less random so police have a place to start," said WKYT's Don Evans, a retired Lexington Police detective.

Crediting the intensity of investigations by police because of the seriousness of the crime, investigators solved 60 percent of homicide cases in 2018. In addition, 60 percent of homicides in Kentucky involved a firearm.

With 102 cases, Jefferson County topped the list for homicides in 2018. That number equaled more than the number in the other counties in the top 10 combined.

While property crimes outnumber violent crime more than two-to-one, investigators cleared just 25 percent of those cases attributing the disparity to "the difficulty of the victim identifying the perpetrator."

Larceny/theft accounted for one-in-four cases of serious crimes with state police estimating the value of that stolen property topping $259 million. In 2018, just $94 million worth of that stolen property ended up being recovered.