With a 2012 population of 305,489, Lexington-Fayette County is more violently crime-ridden than recently advertised statistics suggest.
These advertised statistics mislead by comparing our merged city-county to central cities elsewhere. The effect is to dilute the appearance of violent crime here.
Generally, more crime occurs in central cites than in suburbs and on farms. Compared to cities like Oakland, Cleveland, Atlanta, Jersey City and Tampa, we rank 38th out of 41 cities, with a violent crime rate 55 percent below the average.
Because our population includes the entire county, it is not appropriate to compare us to cities with similar populations, such as Cincinnati and Birmingham (both a little smaller than here), which lie in much more populous counties, Hamilton County, Ohio and Jefferson County, Ala., respectively.
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Fayette's population is much smaller than that of the counties containing cities to which we are frequently compared.
To be fair and accurate, Fayette must be compared to counties in the 250,000 to 500,000 population range such as Jefferson Parish, La., Henrico County, Va., and Galveston County, Texas. Then we come in 24th of 131 counties in violent crime, significantly above the average.
Our police do a good job, but should be restored to 590 officers, from the reduction to 500 in recent years. Thankfully, the government's mistake in eliminating the home fleet (which did not achieve the anticipated savings and saw crime rates rise) has been reversed.
We need more innovative approaches and resources to reduce Fayette County's above-average violent crime rate.