After experiencing a record-breaking year in 2022, Birmingham police say the number of homicides is trending downward in 2023.

With 144 homicides, last year was Birmingham’s most violent year since the 1990s. Some of those killed were children, and several resulted from stray bullets fired in drive-by shootings.

Birmingham officials previously stated that many homicides resulted from altercations between people who knew each other. However, they also suggested the crime wave may be related to gang violence.

After a spree of killings over one weekend in September 2022, Birmingham Mayor Woodin called for gangs to “chill and put the guns down” in a Facebook post. In the same post, he named several gangs, specifically: H2K, 6500 boys, 420, TMSG and CPMG.

In June, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law, initially proposed by State Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road), to enhance penalties for those involved in a criminal enterprise.

The bill’s text initially used the word “gang,” but it was later removed in favor of “criminal enterprise” at the behest of Senate Democrats. 

Attorney General Steve Marshall said last month he trained Birmingham Police Department (BPD) officers on the new law.

On Friday, at least four individuals were shot on Interstate 20/59 in a shootout involving two vehicles. A spokesperson with the BPD said the incident began in another city.

Nevertheless, Birmingham is not on track to break last year’s record. 

Police told 1819 News on Wednesday that this time last year, Birmingham was at 120 homicides. This year, that number is only 107, a 10.8% decrease.

According to Neighborhood Scout, Birmingham’s overall crime rate in 2022 was 77.09 per 1,000 people. Its violent crime rate was 20.57, and its property crime rate was 56.52. The highest crime areas within Birmingham city limits include North Central Birmingham, Ensley, Jones Valley and Garden Highlands.

Neighborhood Scout purports to provide crime risk analytics with 98% accuracy. It claims to use data from local authorities and updates its statistics annually. However, it has yet to update its statistics for this year.

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