HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-New figures show that the number of murders in Huntsville doubled in just one year’s time, even as overall violent crime took a slight dip.
The FBI released its Preliminary Semiannual Crime Report Tuesday, which measures crime statistics in the first six months of both 2012 and 2013. The report shows just one murder in Huntsville during the first six months of 2012, but 12 killings in the same timeframe one year later. The FBI says overall violent crime in Huntsville decreased by two percent during the six-month window in both years.
Officials at the Huntsville Police Department later confirmed that the overall yearly totals for murder went from 12 to 25, but said there were also slight to signficant drops in most other major violent crime categories like robbery and rape.
“Overall, our crime statistics show that we remain one of the safest cities in Alabama,” said Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris. “A lot of the homicides and violent crime that we’ve seen are connected to a small network of known offenders that are engaged in street level crime that largely goes back to drug activity. We’re aware of that, and we’re going to take steps to address that.”
Chief Morris said some of those steps include an increase of officer presence in crime-plagued neighborhoods, as well as a ramp-up in efforts with federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI and DEA. He also pointed to a shift in cultural norms and attitudes among younger people that he believes can be linked to some of the violence.
“One of the most popular video games out there, you actually get points for shooting people and win the game if you steal the car,” said Morris. “When you spend all your day doing that you kind of lose touch with reality. So yeah, it’s a cultural issue.”
HPD officials told WHNT News 19 that they have solved and made arrests in 80 percent of last year’s murder cases, which is 15 points higher than the national average. They report a 14 percent decline in robberies and 12 percent drop in burglaries, with one percent drops in larceny, auto theft and aggravated assault.
To look at the FBI’s Semiannual Crime Report click here: