Huntsville, Alabama (July 31, 2013) – The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center released its Crime in Alabama statistics for 2012, and the City of Huntsville ranks among the safest cities in the State. Compared to other major metro areas, Huntsville showed far fewer crimes in all major categories. “We’re down in forcible rapes by 23, robberies by 23, assaults are down by 62, burglaries are down 219, larcenies are up 506 and auto thefts are down by 80,” said Deputy Chief Sherry Jackson.
“We feel good about our numbers overall and the great strides we have made,” said Jackson. “As Huntsville has grown, we have adapted to cover increased geography and to forge stronger relationships with our citizens.”
Chief Jackson believes the Huntsville Police Department’s new burglary and robbery units had a positive impact on reducing crime in 2012. Increased outreach efforts community resource officers, Crimestoppers, Neighborhood Watch and Neighborhood Associations have also helped encourage citizens to report crime and to help solve crime.
The statistics show homicide was up by 1 incident over 2011. Though the City has seen a recent uptick in homicides in 2013, HPD attributes the majority of these to drug-related activity, paralleling a national trend.
“Any homicide is one too many, and yet we know the majority of these are drug-related and contained within a fairly close network of individuals,” said Chief Jackson. “We are tackling this by refocusing our efforts toward street level drug crime.”
Huntsville did see a slight increase in assault activity in 2012, however, HPD says its assault classification is much more inclusive than most cities, and includes such offenses as a slap in the face. The most noticeable jump in crime was in the rape category with an additional 21 cases reported.
“We have worked closely with Crisis Services and our community resource officers to encourage women who have been violated to report this crime,” said Chief Jackson. “Our message to offenders is a simple one – this community will not tolerate violence against women.”
Chief Jackson says HPD continually tracks data throughout the year to adapt and respond to community needs. She commends Mayor Tommy Battle, their police officers and community volunteers for supporting the City’s effort to remain safe.
“We have more police officers on the streets in Huntsville than at any time in our history, and we are one of the safest cities in state and in the country,” said Chief Jackson. “On behalf of our entire police department, our officers are honored to serve and protect our citizens.”