2007 Homicide Rate: Highest in 32 Years

It started just 9 days into 2007.

Montgomery police found Willie Harris--the first murder victim of the year--shot to death by a man awaiting sentencing for an attempted murder.

Then, numbers kept rising.  After 2006 saw only 28 homicides in Montgomery, 2007 became the worst year since 1975--with 45 total murders.

Authorities attribute the spike to repeat offenders out on the streets.

"We keep arresting the same people over and over, and they've been convicted," said Montgomery Police Chief Art Baylor in a 2007 interview.

Gang violence and confrontations also turned deadly throughout the city, a situation all too common last year.

"[Criminals] unfortunately chose gun violence as a means of settling those disputes," explained Capt. Huey Thornton of the Montgomery Police Department.

Domestic violence proved a huge factor in many of the year's homicides as well.  Police say those types of cases are the most difficult to prevent.

"Police really don't have any indication that it's going to occur," Thornton said.

No matter how investigators look at a case, the shooting deaths of young Montgomery children dealt a hard blow to law enforcement and the community officers protect.

"There's an extra incentive for us to locate and catch the person involved in that crime [. . .] and to make sure that person is placed behind bars, and that's where they stay," Thornton said.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke