Huntsville homicides down in 2019, victim support group hopes to reach families

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Back in 2018, Huntsville experienced 27 homicides and in 2019 the city saw 19 criminal homicides plus 2 vehicular homicides.

Many of the cases have resulted in arrests. However, the survivors, also known as the family members, still deal with the unbelievable on a day-to-day basis.

Wednesday night, a room at the Huntsville Library reserved for the Homicide Survivors Support Group sat mostly empty.

"We can typically see anywhere from about 4 people to about 12. Maybe even 14," said Kim Crawford, the Director of the Homicide Survivors Support Group.

The free support group belongs to the Family Services Center.

"When you come to group, you don't have to speak. You can sit there. Just listening to what other people are talking about and going wow! They are feeling the same things I'm feeling. I'm really not alone," said Crawford.

She isn't just a program director. Crawford's sister was murdered. So when she turns on the TV and hears about another murder, her world sometimes stops.

"Knowing the grief that they're going through at that moment. Knowing the journey that they have ahead of them,' said Crawford.

The Family Services Center offers free counseling and other services to families caught up in the tragic circumstances surrounding homicides.

For information on support groups and services click here. 

"We've actually worked on a homicide survivor guide. A manual that goes through the bereavement process," said Savannah Smith, a coordinator for the program.

Information like the guide could soon be distributed by officers of the Huntsville Police Department. The Family Services Center is also hoping to team with more non-profits in 2020 to better support homicide survivors.

If you are struggling in silence and you see this story, there is help for you.

Crawford says, "It's a really lonely place to be. Trying to do it on your own is very difficult."

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