Though 2022 was Birmingham's most violent year so far this century, the stark increase in homicides did not reach the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County. Instead, these areas experienced a decline in violent crime compared to 2021. 

According to new statistics released Tuesday by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO), unincorporated Jefferson County saw a 5% reduction in major crimes and a 38% reduction in homicides in 2022 from the previous year.

In 2022, there were 21 homicides total in unincorporated Jefferson County, down from 34 in 2021. Total major crimes were also down, with 3,547 crimes committed in the unincorporated areas in 2022 compared to 3,741 in 2021.

Though most major crimes decreased in these areas, unauthorized use of a vehicle increased by 12% and vehicle theft increased by 10%. 

Meanwhile, 2022 was Birmingham's most bloody year since the early 1990s. Birmingham suffered over 140 homicides, several resulting from stray bullets fired in drive-by-shootings. Multiple homicide victims were minors. 

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said that the homicides were mainly a result of conflict between people who knew each other. Some have suggested that the violence is a result of gang warfare.

In September, Woodfin called on gangs to "chill out and put the guns down" following a spree of murders over Labor Day weekend.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.