By Rachel Leber
LEXINGTON, Ky. — As violent crime and drug trafficking become increasingly prevalent across the U.S., law enforcement across the country is looking for new and better ways to battle these challenges. One example is the recent formation of a new working group in Lexington — with a sole mission of battling violent crime and drug trafficking within the city.
Lexington has particularly high crime rates compared to the rest of Kentucky, according to recent statistics from AreaVibes. According to the website’s annual report, the rate of overall crime in Lexington-Fayette averages 84 percent higher than the rest of Kentucky, with violent crime being 46 percent higher than average in the state.
As such, the new working group in Lexington has formed, uniting efforts between the Cease Fire Project and the Fayette County Violent Crime Task Force — two existing crime reduction groups in the area. The newly united group came as a result of the U.S. Department of Justice’s enhanced Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, which focuses its efforts on prevention, enforcement and re-entry efforts.
The announcement of the new collaboration was made by Lexington law enforcement at the end of February 2018. The new group now meets regularly twice each month since its first meeting in January, and will focus its efforts on identifying and convicting the most prevalent offenders in the area for violent crimes and major drug trafficking.
Members of the LPD, FCSO, ATF, FBI, DEA and other law enforcement partners will also meet regularly as part of the new collaboration. The goal of those meetings will serve as an effort to share intelligence as well as to review cases about the most violent offenders in Lexington, and will offer a wider array of intelligence to serve the new working group.
“As Attorney General Sessions has confirmed, combating violent crime, reducing access to drugs and partnering with state and local law enforcement efforts are top priorities for the Department of Justice,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Kentucky, in a recent statement. “By combining our resources and working together to investigate and prosecute the most violent individuals in Lexington, we are sending a clear message that we will protect our communities against those who do them harm.”