The poor economy apparently hasn't increased the nation's crime rate, but Alabama's continues to rise. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), crime nationwide dropped last year, but not in Northern Alabama. Here in Birmingham, where I maintain my criminal defense practice, I find that a percentage of individuals accused of property and theft crimes do so because of money problems; some are falsely accused.Crime in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and elsewhere seems to have gotten worse. Burglary and motor vehicle thefts are property crimes.
A recent news article reported that law enforcement officials were not surprised about the latest statistics from the FBI. However, police aren't particularly happy hearing that property crime in Northwest Alabama increased in 2008. Statistics from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center's 2008 Crime in Alabama report indicate there were 181,434 property crimes in 2008, compared to 174,802 in 2007 and 164,810 in 2006.
By contrast, the FBI's report shows that nationwide there were 9.7 million property crimes reported in 2008, about 0.8 percent lower than the 9.8 million reported in 2007.
Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan said the economy has always dictated crime. "With unemployment the highest it's been in years, there are people who are stealing," Logan said. "And with an increasing drug problem and methamphetamine problem, there is more stealing to support that habit; we've all seen an increase in that."
Tuscumbia was the only city Northern Alabama's five largest cities to see a decline in thefts. There were 161 thefts reported in 2008, compared to 191 in 2007. But Logan said he's worried that the impact of high unemployment will play a bigger role in thefts and burglaries in 2009 than in 2008.
With poor economy, law enforcement officials aren't surprised, TimesDaily.con, September 27, 2009