Montgomery is closing in on Birmingham for being the largest city in state, according to the 2011 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Even though the two cities are about 4,000 people apart, Montgomery has half the murders than Birmingham this year, and fewer fatalities.
The Montgomery Police Department says the numbers don't lie.
As of 5:30 p.m. December 27, 2012, there are more murders in 2012 than the past five years. According to homicide numbers released by the Montgomery Police Department, 2012 had one more homicide than last year, but 8 more than 2008.
2008 - 23
2009 - 31
2010 - 25
2011 - 31
2012 - 32
Despite a slight up-tick in murders, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says overall violent crimes are down 14 to 15 percent.
Residents who have lived in the Capitol City most of their lives feel like the growing population contributes to the increased murders.
“If people would be willing to work and not want to snatch people’s purses, and knock them over the head, there would not be a lot of killing and murders and stuff in the city,” said Montgomery resident Charlie Robinson.
Mayor Strange says the city is trying to change that mindset, calling murders “crimes of passion,” so he's asking residents to take care of people in their areas.
“We've done a lot of faith based initiatives, where we've asked the churches and other social groups to adopt a particular neighborhood,” Strange said.
But some residents, like Brenda Robinson, say even more needs to be done, including back ground checks for people buying guns. “There are so many guns that are being sold on the street, if they could control that, and [how] a lot of people go to the local pawn shops and buy guns,” she said.
As for traffic fatalities, the statistics show deaths in wrecks are up significantly, including pedestrian deaths. There are three more people who died in 2012 than 2011, and 13 more than 2010.
2008 - 16
2009 - 13
2010 - 8
2011 - 18
2012 - 21
“Anytime you have fatalities in vehicles, it has to do with speed, it has to do with alcohol and it has to do with distracted driving,” Strange said outlining the cause for the increase.
Charles Burrell of Monroe County says he drives to Montgomery often to visit his friends and family, but after living in other major cities, he’s noticed a big difference about Montgomery drivers.
“You don't have public transportation, so that means more people are driving,” Burrell said. “Plus you got the people drinking, and then you just got people in a hurry who are speeding.”
So due to the rise of traffic fatalities, Strange says the city will be installing more traffic lights and cameras in 2013 to help prevent deaths on the roadways.
The numbers are a few days premature, Mayor Strange and the Montgomery Police Department say several accidents and murders are still being investigated, plus something could happen before midnight December 31st.