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Montgomery surpasses 2019 homicide statistics, on course with national crime trend

Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 at 6:31 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Homicides are spiking in Montgomery and large cities across the country.

While the timeline largely correlates with the pandemic, the increase in killings has little explanation.

Montgomery is now reporting more homicides in 2020, 44, during the third quarter than the total number of homicides in 2019, 42.

“I think a lot of it is the societal issues that we have now with the pandemic, social distancing, everything you see with George Floyd,” stated Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley. “People are angry. How do we mitigate that? Look at societal issues, look at jobs and things of that nature, people have short fuses.”

At the end of March, Montgomery had reported 10 homicides. Since then, 34 people have been killed in four months.

“I see people that are reacting at the spur of the moment, they explode and then we have these shootings and these homicides,” Finley explained.

Finley says it all boils down to community policing, conflict resolution and keeping an eye out for those you come in contact with.

“When we notice changes in people’s temperatures, changes in their character, we need to have conversations about how to diffuse that and how to de-escalate,” Finley said. “How do we talk with people who may be in crisis and getting them the services they need as opposed to pulling the trigger?”

National trends show an unprecedented gap in the increase in homicides as other violent crime numbers remain level. In Montgomery, violent crime as a whole is up 13 percent compared to this time last year, in contrast, property crimes are down significantly, by 22 percent.

‘We have to get the guns off the street,” said Finley. “It’s much easier to get a legal gun or an illegal gun than to vote.”

It’s unclear whether this pattern is emerging in smaller cities and towns.

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