Homicide Survivors need support as violent crime rates hit 20-year high in Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - More violent crime is happening in Alabama now than in the past two decades. That means a lot more people hurting others, but also more victims than there has been for a while.

We are used to seeing convicted criminals in the news after they receive their sentences. We know their names and followed the case to closure. But, they are not the only ones paying a price for these crimes because every case has at least one victim, and those victims have families. The grief for them is almost too much to bear.

"Getting them help so they're not going into that depression, dealing with that anger," Kim Crawford with the Homicide Survivors Program said about her group's mission.

Crawford is a leader with the Homicide Survivors Program. The team offers free counseling for victims and connects them to community resources.

"We're also able to be with the survivors if they're going to trial, preliminary hearings," Crawford explained. "We help them with victim impact statements that they can read to the judges."

The FBI reports a murder in Alabama every 26 hours.

"They really need that support," Crawford said about the victims' families. "They're going through a lot, not only the funeral but they've got the added stress of a trial and hearing. Then it keeps going. They've got the parole, they've got the media. They've got all of that, that comes with a murder."

The Homicide Survivors Program gives victims community-wide support each year through their vigil. That is happening this Sunday in Big Spring Park at the gazebo. It lasts from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. There will be speakers, a prayer, and a balloon release.

"Give them a chance to honor and remember the loved ones that they lost to vehicular homicide and murder," Crawford said of the event's purpose.