Homicides slowing down in Huntsville, police say - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Homicides slowing down in Huntsville, police say

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

At the first of the year, it looked as if Huntsville was on pace to have an uptick in homicides. Now Huntsville police investigators say their crime-solving techniques are paying off and crimes are getting solved.

It was a tough January with six homicides in one month, but Huntsville police said violent crime is declining.

“No homicide is ever just closed,” said Capt. Michael Izzo. “It continues to be signed to an investigator and it continues to be worked."

Izzo said the Criminal Investigation Division always keeps cold cases in the back of their minds.

This year,Huntsville police investigated 10 homicides. Two are unsolved: the murder of Adrian Porter the night of New Year’s Eve and the murder of Diana Patrick last week.


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"We take murder personal because the first and foremost is the victim. We have to empathize with the victims and the victims’ families. We want to give them closure,” Izzo said.

Huntsville has a better homicide clearance rate than the national average. In the past two years, it's been 95 percent compared to the national average of 59.4 percent.

"We take pride in our work and we want to catch these criminals and take them off the streets,” Izzo explained. “You can't predict a homicide. We wish we could/ If we knew one would occur we would set up on it and prevent it. A lot of these are crime of passion, spontaneous involved with other criminal activity that occurs."

Here's a comparison to the violent crimes last year in other big cities in the state:

CRIMINAL HOMICIDES POPULATION (2016) SIZE (SQUARE MILES)
Birmingham 92 212,157 148.5
Montgomery 44 200,022 161.5
Huntsville 22 193,073 214.7
Mobile 41 192,904 180.1

"So is Huntsville a safe city to live in? Oh, absolutely. I moved here from New York City and wouldn't live anywhere else. It is a very safe city. The violent crime is not up," Izzo added.

He said witnesses are significantly important in helping them solve crime.

"They provide us with information that leads us to some type of physical evidence. It could be anything from leading us to a vehicle that might have DNA in it. Blood, hair, a weapon," he said.

Unsolved crime weighs heavily on these officers.

"It's not easy to tell someone who has lost a loved one to have patience. We are working on it,” Izzo explained. “You have to have empathy for that family and you have to know that they've lost a loved one and you’ve got to make sure that you are showing them or letting them know that you are doing all that you can to solve that crime.”

The majority of leads in crimes come in the first 24 to 48 hours,. However, Huntsville police are still asking anyone with information about the murders of Patrick or Porter to come forward.

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