LMPD extends stolen car pursuit policy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad announced Tuesday he will extend his special order allowing for pursuits of verified stolen cars, due to promising early results in decreasing some violent crime.

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“In 2019, we saw a disturbing pattern of stolen vehicles being used to commit violent crimes in our community,” said Chief Conrad. “That’s why I modified our pursuit policy to allow officers, with specific guidelines, to pursue known stolen vehicles – and we saw a reduction in some violent crimes, including homicides. Due to these early results, I’m extending the order for another six-month period to conduct further study.”

Conrad also released an analysis of how the modified policy impacted violent crime during its initial six-month pilot.

According to the LMPD analysis:
• LMPD recorded 11 homicides in May and 15 in June, for a two-month average of 13. The number dropped to 10 homicides in July, 4 in August, 8 in September, 9 in October, and 7 in November, for an average of 7.6, July through November.
• Reported Wanton Endangerment incidents dropped substantially following implementation of the Special Order. May had 82, that number rose to 103 by June and to 105 in July. The number dropped to 91 in August, 58 in September, 66 in October, and 72 in November.
• There was also a drop in the number of stolen vehicles, from 314 in May and 404 in June. July saw 357, with 329 in August, 312 in September, 329 in October, and 343 in November.
• Non-fatal shootings were largely unaffected, with an average of about 40 in May and June, and then July through November.
Additionally, prior to the Special Order being issued July 1, there were six drive-by homicides. Since the Special Order, there has only been one.
The analysis also shows the number of pursuits increased by 41.5 percent, to 53 this year compared to 31 in 2018. However, the percentage of pursuits ending in collisions significantly decreased, from 71 percent in 2018 to 49 percent this year.

LMPD acknowledges that six months of data is not enough to draw conclusions – and there are certainly other contributions to the reductions in crime, Chief Conrad said the early results prompted him to extend the pursuit policy until June 30, 2020.

“I am concerned, as I know each of you are, about your safety and that of the public we serve,” Conrad said in a letter announcing the policy extension to LMPD officers. “We must continue to exercise due regard for public safety and comply with LMPD policies and this Special Order.”

As part of the Special Order, officers are required to verify a car is stolen through the crime application MetroSafe, prior to engaging in a pursuit.

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