LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Ten months ago, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton appointed Devine Carama to head the city’s ONE Lexington program. The progress that’s been made in such a short time may not be sustainable, time will tell, but some of the numbers to this point are eye-opening.
For example, gun-related homicides are down 50% from this time one year ago, and the overall homicide rate has decreased by more than 28%. But Carama urges caution when glancing at numbers and statistics.
“April through September are coming. We’re in it right now,” he said, noting the crime rate tends to rise during the warm weather months.
“I’m happy that the numbers are reflecting, or going in a positive direction. But again, things can change. And I think we need a little bit larger sample size to truly see, but I am hopeful."
More than 3,000 potentially at-risk kids have been helped or mentored by those involved with ONE Lexington. In the case where violence was an issue, 15 interventions have taken place, and those interventions might’ve played a role in the reduced crime statistics.
“A lot of time, we have 24 to 48 hours to get to those individuals. And if we don’t, then a retaliatory incident can happen,” he said.
Carama and his staff are, as he said, in the school buildings now, which allows them to react faster to those incidents and get help to those who need such. Inside Southern Middle School, the help has been reflected in the classrooms as well.
“He (Carama) was at Southern Middle School this morning meeting with our boys. It’s something they look forward to every Tuesday. We have seen a 75% increase in academics,” said Kevin Payne, the school’s principal.
Mr. Payne went on to tout the school’s 52% decrease in disciplinary actions over the last 10 months.
The term “it takes a village,” is common when referring to raising a child. Terry Dumphord, who runs The VOYAGE Movement, understands that not everyone has a village at their disposal.
“If you look around and can’t find that village, then ONE Lexington has to be that village you lean on,” he said.