Homicide rate third in nation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 29, 2002

According to a report by the Associated Press, Alabama's homicide rate has risen to No. 3 in the nation, with Birmingham listed as one of the nation's deadliest cities.

The report comes from new crime statistics from the FBI.

With 8.5 homicides per every 100,000 residents, the state trailed only Louisiana and Mississippi in homicides, with a rate of 11.2 and 9.9 deaths, respectively.

Alabama ranked 18th overall in crime, 22nd in violent crime and 19th in property crime.

Birmingham ranked 12th nationally in murders, and its rate of 11.9 homicides per 100,000 residents was the highest of any metropolitan area in the state.

John Sloan, a criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, has said it is not unusual for the south to contain particularly violent locales.

Some experts have looked to a history of dueling and of popular gun culture to explain part of the problem with violence in the south.

Birmingham Police Chief Mike Coppage noted that more criminals are being released back on the street, a younger population is maturing to the age of where they are likely to commit crimes

and a decline in the economy.

All five cities in the state with the lowest overall crime rates were located in Birmingham suburbs, such as Helena, Alabaster, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook and Pelham.

Anniston was listed with the highest overall crime rate in the state with 145 crimes per 1,000 residents. Other cities in the top five as far as overall crime included Fairfield, Prichard, Oxford and Birmingham.

Tuscaloosa was listed with the highest rate of violent crime in the state with 773 acts reported per 100,000 residents.