Report shows a decrease in majority of major crime categories; new steps taken to protect children, improve public safety
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 19, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that, according to Kentucky State Police’s (KSP) annual statewide crime report, overall serious crime rates dropped in 2022 from the prior year and included fewer reports and arrests for homicides, drug offenses and robberies.
The Governor was joined by KSP Commissioner Col. Phillip Burnett Jr. and Lt. Mike Bowling of the KSP Electronic Crime Branch to discuss the report and announce new ways the state is protecting children from online predators and enhancing 911 response.
“Making sure our children, communities and law enforcement officers are safe is a top priority for my administration,” Gov. Beshear said. “Today’s report is encouraging news that we are moving in the right direction when it comes to fighting crime across the commonwealth. We are taking this momentum and announcing more ways we are better protecting all of our families.”
Annual Statewide Crime Report
The 2022 Crime in Kentucky report shows that from 2021 to 2022, in 23 crime categories, overall reports of serious, Category A crimes decreased by nearly 10%, and arrests decreased by 6.2%. Of the 23 categories, 16 saw a decrease in arrests and 18 saw a decrease in crimes reported.
The data show a 6.9% decrease in homicide arrests and a 33% decrease in reports of that crime. Other decreases include a more than 13% decrease in drug and narcotic offense reports and about a 12% decrease in arrests of that crime as well as a 16% decrease in reports of robberies and a nearly 6% decrease in those arrests. Other categories that had a rate decrease include fraud, human trafficking, pornography and obscene material and prostitution offenses.
The data is pulled from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which is the standard reporting system for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. KSP reports that Kentucky is one of the first states to fully transition to NIBRS, and the data includes reports from 98% of Kentucky’s law enforcement entities, including all the major county and city law enforcement offices.
Animal cruelty is one category that saw an increase in both reports and arrests. KSP attributes some of this increase to a violation code being added and more law enforcement bringing the crime to light and making arrests.
“For 75 years, KSP has protected the commonwealth’s communities, children and families while collaborating with local law enforcement to create a safer Kentucky,” Commissioner Burnett said. “While we are proud of the work done by law enforcement to decrease serious crime rates, there is still work to be done, and KSP remains committed to ensuring Kentucky is a national leader in public safety and a great state to call home.”
This year, the Governor has also announced that Kentucky was one of only eight states to see a significant decrease in drug overdose deaths and has the lowest recidivism rate in history.
Protecting Children Online
Lt. Bowling with the KSP Electronic Crime Branch discussed a partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, which provides newly developed resources to help parents protect their kids online. Free tipsheets on internet safety, cyberbullying and gaming safety are available at pcaky.org and have been distributed statewide to organizations serving families and children. A free online training, “Electronic Crimes Against Children: How to Educate, Monitor, and Communicate Internet Safety,” is also available.
KSP has arrested 128 online predators since 2021 and has improved its digital forensic lab to help catch more child predators. Troopers can now complete any type of digital exam in-house, which helps them unlock cellular phones, computers and digital media used by suspected child predators.
“Internet safety is more important than ever before, and we are here to make sure families and friends have the knowledge and tools they need to keep Kentucky’s children safe online,” Lt. Bowling said. “If you wish to exploit children, Kentucky will not stand for it. It will take all of us working together to protect our children. If you think something inappropriate is happening to a child, speak up, call KSP or your local law enforcement. No suspicion is too small.”
Officials also made Kentuckians aware of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s takeitdown.ncmec.org website. This free service can help remove online sharing of nude or sexually explicit images or videos taken of a person when they were under 18 years old. To learn more about the free service, click here.
To report a suspected internet crime against a child, please contact the KSP Electronic Crimes Branch at 502-782-9769 or any KSP local post.
Improving 911 Services
To further enhance public safety, KSP indicates Kentucky has become the first in the nation to launch a 911 statewide, cloud-based, computer-aided dispatch system. KSP dispatchers now have a stronger ability to respond to 911 calls and non-emergency calls by communicating with a caller via text message, including with 34 different languages, and using specific location technology.
The new service works by allowing callers to dial 911, and then a text can be initiated by the dispatcher if the caller is unable to verbally speak or needs to be quiet to remain safe. Upon the caller accepting the request sent via text to share their location, KSP can access the individual’s real-time latitude and longitude coordinates from their device allowing first responders to arrive quicker.
“This new technology is helping us better serve and protect our Kentucky families when they need it most,” Gov. Beshear said. “I am proud of KSP’s efforts to strengthen public safety by becoming the first to launch this new system that will connect more first responders, improving responder safety and reducing response times.”
Click here to review some of the actions the administration has taken to support law enforcement, increase public safety and support crime victims.