Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $170,947)
The four cities of Anniston, Birmingham, Bessemer, and Tuscaloosa, which stretch east to west across the Interstate 20/59 corridor, are violent crime hotspot outliers leading most areas of Alabama in firearms and violent crime. In 2019, there were 22,927 reported violent crimes and 140,306 Part I crimes in Alabama. The five cities of Anniston, Birmingham, Bessemer, and Tuscaloosa collectively account for 5,204 of violent crimes and 25,094 of all Part I crimes in Alabama. The violent crime rate in 2019 for all of Alabama was 467.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. Respectively, the 2019 violent crime rate per 100,000 people for Anniston, Bessemer, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa was: 1,443.19; 2,923.53; 1,638.74; and 635.88. These four hot spots are centers of violent, drug, and property crimes within the Northern District of Alabama. The primary drivers of crime in these hotspots include domestic violence, violent gangs, drug trafficking, and straw purchases.
Crime in Alabama is increasing, is becoming more violent, and it frequently involves the presence of a firearm. Since 2010, there has been an 87% increase in homicides, a 56% increase in assaults, a 98% increase in aggravated domestic assaults, and a 60% increase in rape. Since 2016, there have been more than 150 domestic violence homicides and more than 20,000 aggravated domestic assaults in Alabama. In 2018, there were more than 35,000 domestic violence crimes committed in Alabama. In Jefferson County alone in 2020, there were more than 14,000 calls for service made to law enforcement in response to domestic incidences. Preliminary numbers for 2021 indicate an increase in violent crime in each of the four designated PSN project localities. Four months into 2021, Bessemer has matched its homicide total for all of 2020.