HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The city of Huntsville has reported 25 homicides so far in 2021. It’s the second highest number on record, according to Huntsville Police Department annual reports.
Deputy Chief Dewayne McCarver said the number is more typical of what the department usually sees, after a significant decreases in homicides in 2020. Last year, the city only had 14 homicides, the lowest number in recent years.
“Even during COVID, we were able to maintain a pretty high number of people who remained employed, so we were able to actually see a decrease in our homicides during COVID, where unfortunately the rest of the country were seeing increases,” McCarver said.
But with more than a month left in 2021, Huntsville’s homicide rates have far surpassed that low number of 14. The number is second only to a record high of 29 homicides reported in 2018.
McCarver said the vast majority of homicides in the city are either drug related or stem from domestic disputes. He says that’s one of the reasons the department has a 100% solve rate for homicides in 2021.
“Our major crimes investigators do a phenomenal job,” McCarver told News 19. “However, we are dealing with situations here where people know each other. We don’t see random acts of violence in Huntsville very often.”
He says when violent crime happens in the city, the department often starts getting tips from the public almost immediately. He credits this to relationships officers have with community members.
“It’s the relationships not only with the investigators in the community, but also with our street cops,” McCarver said. “[They’re] out there every day talking to people and getting to know their community which in turn makes [the community] feel comfortable to call us.”
WhileMcCarver acknowledged that there has been an increase in homicides, he says the increase is small compared to the boom in Huntsville’s population.
“While we’ve increase I think 36,000 people in the last 10 years, we’ve actually seen crime either stay stable or actually decrease in some cases,” McCarver said.