Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $92,767)
Violent crime is rising throughout the entire Middle District of Alabama. However, the most predominant firearms/violent crime issue in the district remains localized in the City of Montgomery, as well as the county. The City of Montgomery has the largest population in our district and still comprises most of the caseload handled by both the U.S. Attorney’s Office. There were 320 people shot in Montgomery County during 2021, with an overwhelming majority of them located within the city limits. There were 75 homicide investigations in 2021, compared to 69 in 2020. Montgomery’s murder rate is 5.9 time greater than the national average, and 4 times greater than the state average. Gangs, drug/gun trafficking, and illegal firearm possessions are the major driving forces behind violent crime.
Although a great deal of focus is dedicated on the Montgomery area, the reality is that violent crime, especially when it relates to gang activity, is itinerate and occurs across multiple jurisdictions. The City of Montgomery has numerous major roadways connecting it to other counties and municipalities. These roadways provide travelers with an excellent opportunity to reach endless destinations, whether originating in Montgomery or simply passing through to destinations such as Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, or the gulf coast. Unfortunately, they also provide criminals and gang members with an opportunity to expand their areas of operation. Cities throughout the district are impacted by crime based out of Montgomery and surrounding metropolitan areas in adjoining states. Therefore, connecting criminal activity occurring in different jurisdictions is essential in combatting violent crime.
Many of the offenders committing violent crime in the district have criminal records and have been “through the system” multiple times. The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles system remains overburdened, and the state prison system is still desperately overcrowded. Thus, close supervision of all probationers and parolees is very difficult due to the overburden of state resources.