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Huntsville homicide rate nearing pre-pandemic average

FBI data reports from 2010–2020 showed 12 homicides in 2019 and nearly 30 in 2018. The 10-year homicide average for the Rocket City sits at about 18.

Posted: Sep 30, 2021 4:01 PM
Updated: Sep 30, 2021 8:59 PM

The number of homicides in Huntsville already sits at 16 cases in 2021, marking a return to pre-pandemic averages.

According to numbers released by the FBI this week, violent crimes reported across the country increased sharply in 2020, though Alabama saw a decrease overall. Huntsville, the largest metro in North Alabama, bucked the national trend in 2020 with less than 10 homicides reported.

FBI data reports from 2010–2020 showed 12 homicides in 2019 and nearly 30 in 2018. The 10-year homicide average for the Rocket City sits at about 18.

This year, the city is experiencing a rise back to pre-pandemic homicide averages once again. This is occurring as Huntsville experiences major population growths.

The homicide rate is one of the most-watched crime statistics tracked and is used as an indicator of overall crime in a community.

“It’s a scary crime," Huntsville Police Deputy Chief DeWayne McCarver said. "Everyone is concerned about that one."

The city's homicide rate is just a number to some, but the lives affected by these crimes are changed forever.

“Any loss of life is too much loss of life," McCarver said.

McCarver has spent the past 27 years on the force, and he has seen the city's homicide rate rise and fall, usually with economic conditions.

“Our homicides are almost all tied to either domestic violence or drug offenses," he said. "We have very few random acts of violence that result in a homicide. We have seen a steady decline in homicides for some time, but this year, we have seen an increase over last year."

Huntsville Police tell WAAY-31 they can't point to one particular factor to explain the decreases or current uptick in homicides, but they say officers are focusing on rebuilding relationships with the communities they serve. 

"Simply the fact that we live in a city that is doing really well plays a factor in there being less crime," McCarver said.

Huntsville investigators have closed all of their open homicide case investigations to date this year, HPD said. 

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