Kentucky regarded as safe

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By The Staff

For years now, Kentucky has regularly been regarded as a safe state.  The U.S. Census Bureau, for example, says we have the nation’s 10th lowest violent crime rate.

Unfortunately, there are still far too many instances of those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.  According to the Kentucky State Police’s latest annual statewide report, a serious crime occurred every four minutes and 15 seconds in 2008, for 122,000 overall.

A little more than half of those involving violence ended in arrest, but property crimes were much harder to solve, with 18 percent of those cleared.

There were 205 murders in 2008, which was the second-highest amount in the last decade.  Rapes and larceny thefts – crimes like shoplifting and stealing – were both up more than five percent when compared to 2007, but auto thefts were down more than 11 percent.

A closer look at the murder cases found that 60 were due to an argument, one was gang-related and 11 were labeled by police as a “lovers’ quarrel.”  Two-thirds of the victims were male, and most of the offenders ranged in age from 15 to 44.  The vast majority of cases ended in arrest.

From a monetary standpoint, serious crimes cost Kentuckians more than $218 million last year.  Nearly half of that was from thefts, but $48 million involved burglary.  There were 7,100 stolen vehicles, whose value was $50 million, and arson destroyed structures costing $18.6 million.  Robberies – a third of which took place on the highway – took nearly $3.5 million.  Incidentally, more than $1.8 million was taken from coin-operated machines.

The state police found that there were no murders on the campuses of our eight public universities, but there were 19 rapes and 17 robberies.

More than 34,000 people were arrested for DUI, and almost 60,000 were arrested for drug violations.  There were 26,000 petitions for domestic-violence protection orders, and 65 hate crimes, with most of those listed as intimidation and vandalism.

Answering the call for each and every one of these cases, plus untold numbers of others, are the 10,000 law enforcement officers and civilian employees who staff our local and state police departments.  Needless to say, this work is as dangerous as it is necessary.  That can be seen in the 1,400 assaults reported in 2008, which resulted in 372 officers being injured.  Over the years many have made the ultimate sacrifice.

It would be difficult to imagine what our lives would be like without the contributions of these men and women.  One thing is clear: If they did not do their job, few if any others could do theirs.

As always, I hope you will keep contacting me if you have thoughts on this issue or any other affecting state government.  I can be reached by writing to Room 366B, Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY 40601.

You can also leave a message for me or for any legislator at 800-372-7181.  For the deaf or hard of hearing, the number is 800-896-0305.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Representative Rick Rand