The only crime in Birmingham to see a slight uptick in the first six months of the year was robbery.
As Birmingham criminal defense lawyers understand it, new uniform crime reports indicate that all other violent crimes and property crimes are on the decline.
The statistics were reported by the Birmingham Police Department, which compared the first six months of 2011 to the first six months of 2012.
The type of crimes analyzed were Part 1 Offenses. These are serious felonies, and they include:
- Auto Theft;
- Unlawful Breaking and Entering of a Vehicle;
- Theft of Property.
What officers found as that there were nearly 12,115 Part 1 Offenses committed in the first six months of 2011. That was compared to the Part 1 Offenses committed in the first six months of this year, which worked out to approximately 10,740. Overall, that represented an 11 percent decline.
The number of homicides remained the same (31 total during both time frames).
There was a 30 percent drop in the number of rapes in Birmingham, down to 74 this year from 105 last year.
Assaults, likewise, declined by about 20 percent, from about 1,000 in the first six months of 2011 to a few more than 800 at the beginning of this year.
Burglaries dipped by 15 percent, from about 2,670 to about 2,270.
Auto thefts fell by a whopping 33 percent, about 530 this year, down from 780 last year.
Vehicle break-ins slid by about 11 percent, while theft of property was down by about 10 percent.
Robberies, on the other hand, shot up several percentage points this year over last.
A few recent incidents include:
- A Temple Crest Drive home invasion in which robbers reportedly beat the homeowner in the head with a gun, threw another resident to the floor and then grabbed a few phones and a computer before fleeing.
- A woman who was robbed outside a bank on South Street early on a Sunday morning by a man who rode away on a bicycle. He was swiftly apprehended.
- A California couple who were walking on 22nd Street North early in the morning when they were accosted by someone who snatched the woman’s purse.
- An elderly man who was attacked on 9th Avenue South, struck by a gun, dragged into an apartment, beaten and then robbed.
There are varying degrees (and therefore punishments) to robbery in Alabama, depending on the unique facts of the case.
Under Alabama Code 13A-8-41, a robbery is deemed a Class A felony if the offender was either armed with a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument, or conversely led the alleged victim to believe he or she was armed with such, or caused serious physical injury to the victim. So for example, the first and last scenarios would likely be prosecuted as Class A felonies, while the other two would not.
A Class A felony in Alabama is punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars.
Violent crime drops double-digits in Birmingham for first half of 2012, Sept. 25, 2012, By Carol Robinson, The Birmingham News