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Lexington's mayor decries gun violence, points finger at criminal elements

Karyn Czar

Mayor Linda Gorton says she's angry about the uptick in violence in the city, calling it unacceptable and urging the community to get involved to assist police. Karyn Czar covered the mayor's Tuesday press conference and filed this report.

Standing at a podium outside her office, flanked by Lexington’s Police Chief, the Fayette County Sheriff and other city leaders, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said “The violence in our streets really angers me and it should anger you. It is brazen. It is bold. And it is without shame. There are too many guns in the hands of criminals with ill intentions.”

And the Mayor announced staggering statistics. “Our homicide rate, related to domestic violence has increased 11-hundred percent over last year.”

Gorton called the rising crime rate unacceptable and urged the community to get involved to assist Lexington police.

“We are determined to hold the criminals committing these violent and destructive criminal acts accountable.” Gorton continued, “As a community we must call out this unacceptable behavior when we see it and report it every time we are aware of it.”

Gorton said her administration, police officers, sheriff’s deputies and community services leaders are working hard to ensure public safety, pointing to the creation of One Lexington to work with the young people in the city to reduce youth violence and Flock cameras that have helped locate and recover more than 70 stolen vehicles and assisted with 35 criminal investigations so far this year.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers echoed the mayor, saying the department was down 86 officers and asked the public to step up.

“You can be anonymous. You can use Crime Stoppers or you can use P3 but don’t let them scare you into that. The stuff that’s happening out here, it’s happening because we are letting the criminals win.” Weathers said, “We cannot do that anymore. If you want this place to remain the best place, stand up. Say something. Step out and step in and get involved.”

Weathers acknowledged the understaffing of the police department created challenges and he did not hold back his emotions when he talked about the number of officers who have left the force in recent years.

“Let me tell you something. When I have police leave, they’re leaving because they feel like they’re not being appreciated. It’s time to stop all this nonsense and realize that you’ve got a different community here and start appreciating what your police do for you. Start appreciating what your E 9-1-1 workers do for you. Start appreciating what your fire department does for you. Start appreciating what your corrections officers do for you.” Weather’s pounded the podium and added, “That’s what we need when we say community involvement. We need YOU to be involved with public safety!”

They mayor asked for patience, saying there is an uptick in crime across the country and that this problem “didn’t happen overnight” and it will take time to fix.

Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.