Population surge sparks increase in felony crime cases - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Population surge sparks increase in felony crime cases

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) -

Gaining the title of one of the fastest growing counties in the state doesn't come without a price.

Elmore County, known most for its massive population growth and the development to follow, is experiencing a surge in crime, something the rural county has never been exposed to.

Elmore County District Attorney, Randall Houston, showed WSFA 12 News a table packed with ten bankers' boxes, filled to the brim.

He points out that half of the cases in one box is the normal caseload for a six month grand jury session.

Twenty years later, more than 200 cases are on the docket for an upcoming grand jury session.

Houston knew the population was growing in Elmore County long before an updated census report, simply by his increased caseload.

"Elmore County is a target-rich environment," Houston said. "Most of our people are gone to work during the day and it makes for easy targets. As a result, we have a lot of criminal actions, and it keeps the sheriff's office and the police departments very busy."

Houston says it's a tough push for his three prosecutors to get ready for a grand jury with 203 cases, while managing their daily caseload.

As he points at the packed table Houston explains, "This is just circuit court files here. We have juvenile court, district court, we have child support courts. We have a myriad of other courts."

The heart of the issue is funding.

Houston was elected to office in 2001 with a $1.1 million budget. Nearly 14 years and a massive population spike later, his office is feeling the holes of a $1.4 million budget.

Houston admits, "We do feel like crime is an unfunded mandate."

Houston's offices in Elmore, Chilton and Autauga Counties have recently tackled major, head-line grabbing cases ranging from high profile capital murder to historic child abuse case, putting a serious strain on resources.

It's not rare for the office to pull in other assistant district attorneys from outside counties to cover cases in Elmore County, when every judge has a full docket.

As for a breaking point, "Circuit court takes priority. Those are the dangerous felony cases. Hopefully the day will never come when I have to tell a district court judge, I don't have anyone here."

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Investigators: Russian military missile downed Flight MH17

    Investigators: Russian military missile downed Flight MH17

    Thursday, May 24 2018 5:32 AM EDT2018-05-24 09:32:04 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 6:00 AM EDT2018-05-24 10:00:42 GMT

    An international team of investigators say that detailed analysis of video images has established that the Buk missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 nearly four years ago came from a Russia-based...

    More >>

    An international team of investigators say that detailed analysis of video images has established that the Buk missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 nearly four years ago came from a Russia-based military unit.

    More >>
  • WSFA weather team programming weather radios in Greenville

    WSFA weather team programming weather radios in Greenville

    Thursday, May 24 2018 6:04 AM EDT2018-05-24 10:04:38 GMT
    WSFA First Alert weather team (Source: WSFA 12 News)WSFA First Alert weather team (Source: WSFA 12 News)

    The WSFA First Alert Weather team have been programming Midland Weather Radios and the WSFA First Alert Weather app for residents across our viewing area.

    More >>

    The WSFA First Alert Weather team have been programming Midland Weather Radios and the WSFA First Alert Weather app for residents across our viewing area.

    More >>
  • North Korea slams Pence as summit with Trump grows shakier

    North Korea slams Pence as summit with Trump grows shakier

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 8:51 PM EDT2018-05-24 00:51:44 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 5:53 AM EDT2018-05-24 09:53:41 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). Women protesters stage a rally for peace on the Korea peninsular near U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump labored with South Korea's Moon Jae-in Tuesday to keep the highly anticipated U...(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). Women protesters stage a rally for peace on the Korea peninsular near U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump labored with South Korea's Moon Jae-in Tuesday to keep the highly anticipated U...
    A top North Korean official says recent comments by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence were "stupid" and "ignorant" and again warns the country is willing to pull out of a planned summit with Trump.More >>
    A top North Korean official says recent comments by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence were "stupid" and "ignorant" and again warns the country is willing to pull out of a planned summit with Trump.More >>
Powered by Frankly