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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – The city of Lexington has reached a record number of homicides.

On Wednesday, police and city leaders spoke on the record and said despite it, violent crime in Lexington is down.

“I hate hearing about numbers and records,” Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said.

In 2021, 35 people have lost their lives in Lexington due to violence. Thirty-four have been from gun violence.

“This is a record that nobody wants to achieve. Although this is no consolation to anybody, the whole country has been experiencing a rise in violent crime and in homicide,” Weathers said.

Just hours after Lexington police confirmed Ramon Pennie’s death as the 35th homicide of the year, Chief Weathers spoke publicly of how his department, and the city, are addressing the continued violence.

“We listen to people, we listen to their suggestions, but we won’t be able to accept them all, because whether people like to believe it or not, every city is unique. Lexington is no exception,” Weathers said.

Weathers said he’s noticing a lot of the suspects are younger, and some even younger than 18.

“We know it’s going to be hard work to undo some of the things that may be leading to some of the issues that we’re seeing,” Weathers said.

But despite these issues, Chief Weathers said they are not random, meaning overall, Lexington is a safe city, but is calling on the community to speak up.

“We see people that have developed some sort of relationship, and somehow or another that relationship has turned violent,” Weathers said. “The problem we have is sometimes that violence happens in public areas and public spaces. That’s when we need people to come forward. Not when it happens, but before it happens. There’s always something going back and forth.”

He’s calling on everyone, whether you have a badge or not, to play an engaging role in saving lives.

The mayor said her office has spoken to several groups including the NAACP and Human Rights Commission.

“We want to do this in a way that we believe is not targeting certain demographics, in a way that the chief talked about every city being different, in a way that fits Lexington,” Mayor Gorton said.

Gorton wants a Lexington-based plan, not one she said is based on national statistics.

“We have done somewhat I consider innovative programs that we are involved with, in particular Devine Carama, our One Lexington, our safety net. We work with people on the street everyday,” Gorton said.

The mayor said her budget includes two police recruit classes and six new neighborhood resource officers, adding public safety is the foundation of being a good city.

“We will not let up on this. I am not interested in national statistics applying to Lexington. That doesn’t get it. I’m interested in Lexington applying its numbers and its data here,” Gorton said.

More than 20 of the homicides from this year are still open, meaning no arrest has been made. Weathers could not go into specifics but said several looks promising to be solved soon.