Crime in Birmingham

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Special issue of Black & White on Birmingham crime

Crime in Birmingham is a primary issue.

The Birmingham Police Department provides semi-annual statistics for various categories of reported crime by precinct. These statistics are forwarded, as "Uniform Crime Reports" to the Federal Bureau of Investigation which compiles an annual publication entitled Crime in the United States. Despite the FBI's disclaimers that UCR data is unsuited to making comparisons between cities, its publications are used by private publishers to generate crime rankings [1].

The 14th Edition of the Congressional Quarterly Press' City Crime Rankings identified Birmingham as the sixth most dangerous city in the United States (while the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area came in at 37th among metro areas).


2015

The FBI's annual crime report for 2015 included the following figures for Birmingham:

  • Murder and non-negligent manslaughter: 79 (37.2/100,000), up 33.9% from 59 in 2014
  • Rape (revised definition): 159 (74.9/100,000)
  • Robbery: 1,114 (524.8/100,000)
  • Aggravated assault: 2,355 (1,109/100,000)
  • Violent crimes (total): 3,707 (1,746/100,000)
  • Burglary: 3,146
  • Larceny: 8,838
  • Auto theft: 1,515
  • Property crimes (total): 13,499

Although the FBI specifically discourages using UCR data to rank cities, the website "24/7 Wall St." ranked Birmingham as the United States' 3rd most dangerous city based on the reported violent crime rate of 1,746 per 100,000 residents.

2014

The Birmingham Police Department made these projections for 2014 non-violent crime totals in September 2014:

  • Burglary: 3,800 (-6.38%)
  • Vehicle break-in: 2,001 (-16%)
  • Motor vehicle theft (not including unauthorized use of vehicle): 997 (+1.01%)

The FBI's preliminary semiannual crime report included the following figures for Birmingham for the first six months of 2014:

  • Homicides: 19 (a 50% decrease from 38 in the same period in 2013)
  • Robberies: a 5% decrease from the same period in 2013
  • Burglaries: an 11% decrease from 38 in the same period in 2013)

The FBI's annual crime report credited Birmingham with seven fewer homicides than the previous year (59 in 2014 vs 66 in 2013). The city's per capita rate of violent crimes (homicides, robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults) left the city "ranked" 5th among 289 American cities with more than 100,000 residents, after Detroit, Memphis, Oakland and St Louis. Birmingham was also ranked 5th in overall crime rate (violent crimes along with burglaries, thefts and arson cases) after Salt Lake City, Spokane, Springfield, and Little Rock.

2013

  • Homicide: 63 (-5.9% from 2012)
  • Rape: 178 (+17.11%)
  • Robbery: 969 (-1.42%)
  • Aggravated assault: 1,755 (-13.76%)
  • Burglary: 4,059 (-13.71%)
  • Larceny theft: 8,836 (-2.28%)
  • Motor vehicle theft: 1,525 (+46.35%)*
  • Vehicle break-in: 2,382 (-2.14%)
  • Total: 17,385 (-3.55%)
  • The "Motor vehicle theft" category was expanded in 2013 in include reports of "unauthorized use of a vehicle" by friends and family members, adding 538 incidents to that category, which would have been 987 otherwise.

2012

  • Homicide: 67
  • Rape: 152
  • Robbery: 983
  • Aggravated assault: 2,035
  • Burglary: 4,704
  • Larceny theft: 9,042
  • Motor vehicle theft: 1,042 (-21.4%)
  • Vehicle break-in: 2,434 (-8.8%)
  • Total: 18,025

For the first six months of 2012, Part I offenses saw an 11% drop to 10,739 from 12,111 over the same period in 2011. The number of homicides not ruled justifiable remained the same, at 31. There was a 2% increase in robberies, but all other categories of crime saw declines.

  • Murders: 31 from 31 (no change)
  • Forcible rapes: 74 from 105 (-30%)
  • Robberies: 461 from 451 (+2%)
  • Aggravated assaults: 808 from 1000 (-19%)
  • Burglaries: 2,268 from 2,668 (-15%)
  • Larcenies/thefts: 3,411 from 3,780 (-10%)
  • Auto thefts: 527 from 783 (-30%)
  • Vehicle break-ins: 1,147 from 1,282 (-11%)

2011

  • Auto thefts: 1,325
  • Vehicle break-ins: 2,670 (-12.7%)

2010

Due to the retirement of their long-time statistician, the Birmingham Police Department did not provide Uniform Crime Report information to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center in time to be included in the FBI's preliminary report. When the final report was released in October 2012, Birmingham fell to 11th in homicides per capita for cities of more than 100,000 population. With an increase in property crimes, however, the city was ranked #2 for overall crimes per capita.

  • Murders: 54 (11th per capita)
  • Violent crimes: 1,483 (43rd per capita)
  • Property crimes: 12,841 or 90 per 1,000 resident (2nd per capita)
  • Vehicle break-ins: 3,060
  • All crimes: 98.4 per 1,000 residents (2nd per capita)

2009

Crimes reported to the FBI for 2009 included the following (with % change since 2008) [2]:

  • Murders: 65 (-20.7%)
  • Forcible rapes: 198 (-6.60%)
  • Robberies: 1,150 (-23.3%)
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,399 (+3.91%)
  • Burglaries: 5,019 (-2.60%)
  • Larcenies/thefts: 11,546 (-9.52%)
  • Auto thefts: 1,594 (-25.5%)
  • Arson: 135 (+0.07%)

Overall crime declined by 10% from 2008 to 2009. Homicide was the category with the biggest percentage drop at 20.7% (65 vs 82 chargeable homicides reported to the FBI). Violent crime (homicide, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault) dropped 13.5% while property crimes (theft, vehicle theft, burglary and arson) dropped 9.4%.

The rate of 1,237 violent crimes per 100,000 people dropped the city to 19th highest among the 272 cities of more than 100,000 population that provided uniform crime reports to the FBI. The city's murder rate of 28.6 per 100,000 dropped in the rankings, from 5th to 9th, as did the rate of property crimes, from 3rd to 5th.

2008

Crimes reported to the FBI for 2008 included the following (with % change since 2007) [3]:

  • Murders: 82 (-4.65%)
  • Forcible rapes: 212 (-7.42%)
  • Robberies: 1,499 (-6.83%)
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,456 (+4.29%)
  • Burglaries: 5,153 (+5.94%)
  • Larcenies/thefts: 12,761 (+1.86%)
  • Auto thefts: 2,140 (-4.72%)
  • Arson: 134 (-39.4%)

Birmingham reported clearing 51 of its 82 murders (62%), 76 of its 212 rapes (36%), 650 of 1,499 robberies (43%), 256 of 1,456 assaults (18%), 411 of 5,153 burglaries (8%), 1,312 of 12,761 thefts (10%) and 251 of 2,140 motor vehicle thefts (12%) for an overall clearance rate of 13%.

Birmingham's 2008 homicide rate (35.9 per 100,000) ranked fifth on the FBI's report of cities. The cities with the highest rate were New Orleans, Louisiana; St Louis, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland and Jackson, Mississippi. The overall rate of violent crime (1,423 per 100,000) put the city at 11th while the rate of property crime (8,784 per 100,000) ranked 3rd.

For the metropolitan area as a whole, Birmingham-Hoover ranked 19th for murder rate (10.1 per 100,000), 32nd for property crime, and 69th for violent crime.

2007

Overall, occurrences of major crimes increased 3% from 2006 to 2007. Robberies increased the most, at 13% (1,609 compared to 1,429) while rape, burglary, theft and auto theft rose slightly. Homicides, in contrast, fell 15% from 2006 (93 in 2007 vs 109 in 2006) and aggravated assaults decreased slightly. When reported to the FBI, only those homicides determined by police and prosecutors to be murder or non-negligent manslaughter are counted. Using that definition, Birmingham experienced 86 murders in 2007 compared to 104 in 2006 (a 17% drop).

Birmingham's 2007 homicide rate (38 per 100,000) ranked sixth on the FBI's report of cities issued on September 15, 2008. The cities with the highest rates were New Orleans, Richmond, Detroit, Baltimore and St Louis. The overall rate of violent crime (1,458 per 100,000) put the city at 19th while the rate of property crime (8,625 per 100,000) ranked 4th behind St Louis and Springfield, Missouri and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Crimes reported to the FBI for 2007 included the following (with % change since 2006) [4]:

  • Violent crimes: 3,320 (+4.6%)
  • Murders: 86 (-17.3%)
  • Forcible rapes: 229 (+4.1%)
  • Robberies: 1,609 (+12.6%)
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,396 (-1.8%)
  • Property crimes: 19,638 (+3.3%)
  • Burglaries: 4,864 (+1.1%)
  • Larcenies/thefts: 12,528 (+3.4%)
  • Auto thefts: 2,246 (+7.9%)
  • Arsons: 221 (-3.1%)

In November 2007 the department provided some information broken down by precinct, showing that the eastern and northern sections of the city were seeing that biggest increases while the south and west saw minor decreases in reports of violent crime:

  • South Precinct
    • "major crimes" January - October (4,319)
    • Violent crimes (2,942) down 5%
      • Homicides (9)
      • Rapes (31)
      • Robberies (196)
      • Aggravated assaults (108)
      • Burglaries (476)
      • Thefts (1,812)
      • Auto thefts (310) up 10%
  • West Precinct
    • "major crimes" January - October (5,378)
    • Violent crimes, down 3%
  • East Precinct
    • "major crimes" January - October (5,424)
    • Violent crimes, up 16%
  • North Precinct
    • "major crimes" January - October (3,386)
    • Violent crimes, up 8%

During 2007 the Birmingham Police vice and narcotics unit carried out 317 warranted searches and 722 vice operations, leading to 955 felony arrests and 2,052 misdemeanor arrests.

2006

Crimes reported to the FBI for 2006 included the following [5]:

  • Violent crimes: 3,175 (-8.6%)
  • Murders: 104 (unchanged)
  • Forcible rapes: 220 (-9.5%)
  • Robberies: 1,429 (unchanged)
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,422 (-17.8%)
  • Property crimes: 19,007 (+0.4%)
  • Burglaries: 4,813 (-2.5%)
  • Larcenies/thefts: 12,113 (+1.3%)
  • Auto thefts: 2,081 (+2.5%)
  • Arsons: 228 (+40.4%)

2005

Crimes reported to the FBI for 2005 included the following [6]:

  • Violent crimes: 3,449 (+5.5%)
  • Murders: 104 (+43.3%)
  • Forcible rapes: 241 (+0.4%)
  • Robberies: 1,429 (+4.2%)
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,675 (+4.9%)
  • Property crimes: 18,923 (-2.8%)
  • Burglaries: 4,933 (-4.5%)
  • Larcenies/thefts: 11,962 (-0.1%)
  • Auto thefts: 2,028 (-15.9%)
  • Arsons: 136 (-4.4%)

Homicides increased dramatically, accompanied by more modest upswings in robberies and assaults while most other crime categories saw significant declines.

2004

Crimes reported to the FBI for 2004 included the following [7]:

  • Violent crimes: 3,261 (-2.6%)
  • Murders: 59 (-44.1%)
  • Forcible rapes: 240 (+15.0%)
  • Robberies: 1,369 (+1.2%)
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,593 (-7.1%)
  • Property crimes: 19,447 (-0.7%)
  • Burglaries: 5,156 (+15.0%)
  • Larcenies/thefts: 11,970 (+0.3%)
  • Auto thefts: 2,351 (-19.5%)
  • Arsons: 142 (-23.2%)

2003

Crimes reported to the FBI for 2003 included the following [8]:

  • Violent crimes: 3,347 (-4.8%)
  • Murders: 85 (+23.5%)
  • Forcible rapes: 204 (-17.2%)
  • Robberies: 1,352 (+12.3%)
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,706 (+0.5%)
  • Property crimes: 19,574 (-6.6%)
  • Burglaries: 4,381 (-0.2%)
  • Larcenies/thefts: 11,934 (+2.5%)
  • Auto thefts: 2,809 (+27.1%)
  • Arsons: 175 (-20.6%)

2002

Crimes reported to the FBI for 2002 included the following [9]:

  • Violent crimes: 3,187
  • Murders: 65
  • Forcible rapes: 239
  • Robberies: 1,186
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,697
  • Property crimes: 18,289
  • Burglaries: 4,389
  • Larcenies/thefts: 11,640
  • Auto thefts: 2,049
  • Arsons: 211

1994

    • Homicides (135)
    • Rapes
    • Robberies (nearly 2,000)
    • Aggravated assaults (4,237)
    • Burglaries
    • Thefts (over 16,000)
    • Auto thefts (nearly 4,000)

See also

References

  • Pelfrey, David (October 4, 2007) "Crime by the numbers." Black & White
  • Robinson, Carol (October 10, 2007) "Crime down 5% in South Precinct." The Birmingham News
  • Norris, Toraine and Jeremy Gray (January 13, 2007) "Crime fight grows in Southside hot spots." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (February 20, 2008) "Crime in Birmingham up in 2007." The Birmingham News
  • Gray, Jeremy (June 10, 2008) "Birmingham had slight increase in violent crimes in 2007, according to FBI report." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (September 16, 2008) "Birmingham makes FBI Top 10 lists in violent crime, property crime and homicides." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (September 15, 2009) "Mobile 7th, Birmingham 19th in nation in 2008 murder rate." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (November 18, 2009) "Crime in Birmingham down 12% in 2009." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (February 17, 2010) "Crime drops in Birmingham 10 percent." The Birmingham News
  • Faulk, Kent (May 25, 2010) "Birmingham murder rate falls, but still in top 10." The Birmingham News
  • Faulk, Kent (May 23, 2011) "Birmingham not included in FBI's national report on crime statistics." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (September 25, 2012) "Violent crime drops double-digits in Birmingham for first half of 2012." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (March 14, 2014) "Birmingham's 2013 crime numbers lowest in 30 years, mayor and chief say." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (September 19, 2014) "Burglaries in Birmingham drop 30 percent, on pace to dip lowest in decade, police say." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (September 29, 2015) "4 Alabama cities in FBI's Top 100 crime list; Birmingham No. 5." The Birmingham News

External links