HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Major crime is down in the city of Huntsville and it may not be for the reason you would expect.
Preliminary reports indicate homicides dropped 26%, burglaries 19%, automotive break-ins 11%, and robberies 31%.
Top cops with the Huntsville City Police Department are looking back on 2020, reviewing their end of year crime statistics. “What is going on, why exactly has all of those numbers dropped?” questioned Captain Dewayne McCarver.
Investigators first believed the decrease was due to the pandemic with more people spending time at home.
“Even as the pandemic tested all of us in 2020, our police officers did not take a day off,” said Huntsville Police Chief McMurray. “Patrol officers, specialized units, and investigators worked hard to combat crime and solve cases, and it shows.”
McCarver said FBI data does not show that crime rates went down in all major cities. “When you look across the country, across the state at cities bigger than us, smaller than us, similar in size as well, West Coast to East Coast, they have all been seeing increases in crime.”
Captain McCarver credits a decrease in crime with an increase level of community participation, two dozen officers teaming up with state and federal partners, and the relationship Huntsville Police have developed within the community.
“Their relationship with the community and the community’s relationship with us. They feel so open to come to us and work with us to solve crime.”
There was criticism this summer when officers started firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd at what many people argue was a peaceful protest.
Captain McCarver said the department will spend 2021 working on strengthening relationships and training officers. “Continue to train our officers to really engage with the public all the time. That holistic approach will hopefully allow us to see decreases as we go.”
Final crime numbers for 2020 will be published in the Huntsville Police Annual Report in early spring.
A copy of the report will be available to the public online at HuntsvilleAL.gov/police/operations.