The Alabama Statistical Analysis Center has been publishing an annual crime report for the state since 1977. The data required for the statistical analysis is furnished by the sheriff's departments from all counties across Alabama and the reports are administered through the Criminal Justice Information Center of the state. The figures are routinely published in the Crime in Alabama Journal.
The analysis generally features a compilation of various offenses reported by counties, municipalities and other law enforcement agencies in the state for the previous calendar year. The statistical study of this data and the resultant averages for various crime types are also published on the official website of the disaster center for the state of Alabama.
Current crime scenario in Alabama
At the time of writing this article, nearly 200,000 crimes were being reported in the state each year. Of these, almost 90% were incidents of property crimes while violent criminal activity accounted for the remaining 10%. Although the average crime rate did show a drop in 2009 and 2010, the police have been unable to maintain this performance in 2011 when the crime actually increased by 10%.
Nearly 191,000 crime reports were filed all over Alabama in this period; the most startling increase was in the averages of homicide and burglary which went up by over 20% since 2010; rates of assault and rape came in a close second with a spike of 12% and larceny was the only crime type that did not show an increase. In terms of property crime, over $460 million worth of goods were stolen in 2011
Historical crime trends for the state of Alabama
A look at the annual crime rate analysis offered on the disaster center of Alabama website reveals that there has been a steady increase the average crime rate since 1960 right up to 2009. While there was a reduction in the number of incident reports between 2009 and 2010, the decrease was only marginal.While many were hoping that the downward spiral would stay, the figures of 2011 point at a trend reversal and have shown that the number of criminal incidents is on the rise again. Over the last 4 decades, the highest annual crime rate was reported in 1991 at just about 220,000 incidents.
Comparison of Alabama crime rates with nationwide figures
When compared with the crime ratio across the country, Alabama has a lower violent crime median and a higher property crime rate. At a little over 29, the median for violent crime reports filed across the state is significantly lower than the nationwide average of over 35 and this is reflected across all the crime categories across the board.
For instance, the median for robbery and assault are also lower than the national average at 1.0 and 2.44 respectively as compared to the nationwide averages which stand at 1.19 and 2.52 respectively. However, the medians for murder and rape for the state of Alabama are higher than the total US figures at 0.06 and 0.28.
A look at the averages of property crimes reveals a worrisome trend. The fact that the overall median of criminal activity involving property theft is higher than the national figures reflects in the figures of every crime type in this category. For example, the averages for burglary at around 8.8 and 24.2 are considerably higher than the national rates that stand at 7 and 20 respectively. However, the number of car thefts at about 2.2 is only slightly higher than the nationwide average of 2.34.
While the increase in the rate of overall crime and the dismal reduction in the number of violent crimes paints a mixed picture, experts believe that it is still possible for the crime averages in the state to go down in the coming years if the various law enforcement and justice agencies put in a greater effort into curbing crime through community education initiatives and a stronger stance against anti social acts through stricter punitive measures.