MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Crime remains a key concern in The City of Montgomery. Crime statistics for 2019 show an overall decrease in violent and non-violent crime.
Violent crime, which includes murder, felony sex cases, robbery, and assault, is down 7 percent.
Forty-two people were killed in Montgomery in 2019, two more than the previous year. Forty-three percent of those cases remain unsolved.
The stats also show Montgomery continues to grapple with gun violence. Nearly 90 percent of murder victims were killed with a firearm.
Guns remain a hot commodity in the region and change hands quickly, according to David Hyche, ATF Alabama Special Agent in Charge.
He says stolen firearms were likely used in many of these crimes.
“One thing we’re seeing in Alabama that’s an alarming trend is those that are 23 [years old] and under that are arrested with a gun, the percentage that are using either stolen or newly purchased guns is very high,” Hyche said.
Legal gun owners have a role to play.
“I encourage gun owners in Alabama to be vigilant about securing your guns,” he explained. "Please make sure you write down your make, model, and serial number and don’t leave guns in your vehicle unlocked. It’s an enormous problem.”
Hyche doesn't believe targeted gun owners realized their firearms will likely be used in the commission of a violent crime.
“I don’t think it’s apathy,” said Hyche. “I think it’s just lack of education by a lot of gun owners, they just don’t think about it.”
MPD also reported a 17 percent drop in robberies. It credits increased community engagement and initiatives like the burglary reduction team, the auto theft unit, and an apartment complex initiative for the decrease.
Non-violent crime is also down 6 percent. The most notable drop involves stealing from vehicles. Those cases are down 11 percent.