HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-New numbers show violent crime is on the rise in the city of Huntsville, and growing at a much faster rate than the national average.
The FBI reports that violent crime in the Rocket City shot up by approximately 11 percent from 2011 to 2012, roughly seven times larger than the national average increase of just 1.5 percent.
According to the FBI's Preliminary Uniform Crime Report, there were slight to significant jumps in all four major violent crime categories in Huntsville. There was only one more murder in 2012 compared to 2011, but the increases were much higher for both robberies and rapes, with the latter category skyrocketing by nearly 30 percent. Pushing the FBI's reporting window back one additional year shows a more alarming picture for crime in Huntsville. From 2010 to 2012, violent crime spiked by a staggering 30 percent.
Officials with the Huntsville Police Department told WHNT News 19 they needed more time to analyze the FBI data, and would address the numbers on Thursday. City leaders said some of the numbers may be skewed due to how those numbers are reported.
"I think sometimes we [Huntsville Police Department] file cases that maybe other cities don't file, and they turn out later to be not even crimes," said City Councilman Mark Russell, who believes the numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Russell told WHNT News 19 that HPD probably files more reports compared to similar locales, partially due to the department's strict adherence to new electronic reporting guidelines. But he admitted the numbers do warrant a closer look.
"I expect in the next 48 hours, or maybe a week, after the chief has time to review the report with his staff, I expect them to brief the council on what's going on."
For a full look at the FBI's crime data in Huntsville and other cities, click the following link: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/preliminary-annual-uniform-crime-report-january-december-2012/tables/table-4-cuts/table-4-alabama-through-california