Mt. Brook mini-crime spree

I’ve lived most of my life in the over the mountain communities of Mt. Brook and Vestavia Hills. I’ve worked most of my life in the City of Birmingham—primarily downtown.

I’ve never felt unsafe in the suburbs or in Birmingham.

Thanks to the resurgence of downtown, I now often find myself downtown in the evenings.  I’m usually more concerned about finding a parking place at night than I am about being a crime victim.

So it’s kind of surreal to watch a mini-crime spree unfold in Mt.Brook.

Mt. Brook Office Park, Brookwood Mall, and Jemison Trail are places my family and I visit regularly.  Are we afraid to go there?—absolutely not.

What’s a mystery is why some of my friends who live in the suburbs want to chide me about crime in Birmingham—being totally oblivious to crime in their own communities.

Crime can happen anywhere.  No thief or gunman is going to drive to the boundary of Trussville and turn around.

The chance of being a victim of crime is about the same in downtown Birmingham as it is in Mt. Brook and Vestavia.

Metropolitan Birmingham is safer than Nashville

Metropolitan Birmingham compares favorably with many of our peer cities.

For instance, we all seem to envy Nashville.  However, according to the FBI (as of February 25, 2015), the violent crime rate per 100,000 residents in metropolitan Birmingham was 539 and Nashville 639. And this is not a fluke.  Metropolitan Birmingham’s crime rate is always lower than Nashville.

Why do we think Birmingham is more dangerous?  Because when Birmingham’s crime statistics are compared to other cities—the City of Birmingham (without the suburbs) are matched with cities like Nashville where the County and the City are combined with the more affluent neighborhoods included in its averages.  It’s clear from the crime numbers that there are parts of Nashville that are as dangerous as or even more dangerous than Birmingham.

Birmingham doesn’t have a crime problem—it has a perception problem.

Editor’s note: According to, a Tuscaloosa County man was recently arrested who authorities say is responsible for a string of armed robberies and at least one assault including holdups in Birmingham, Mountain Brook, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Homewood and McCalla.” Proof again that artificial boundries don’t prevent crime.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12, a division of Intermark Group, and co-CEO of AmSher Compassionate Collections.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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One thought on “Mt. Brook mini-crime spree”

  1. *David,   This is an excellent article and really hits  the nail on the head.   I am a Birmingham  native  and have lived in Nashville for exactly 37 years.  A new job brought me here in 1978.  Like Birmingham, Nashville is a fine city, and excellent place to live and raise a family.  One big difference, and this is likely Birmingham’s biggest problem.  Here, the Tennessean is pro-Nashville regardless.  Local crime and murder is reported in only it’s basic details: usually only 3-4 short paragraphs or less.  Local political corruption is NEVER mentioned and totally swept under the rug in the name of progress.  In stark contrast, The Birmingham News is a trash tabloid that usually seems bent on trashing the city and only under very rare circumstances, builds the city up.  Several News journalists could easily be recommended for employment with The National Inquirer and The Globe or one of the other trash tabloids.  Yesterday, I blasted ‘the News’ favorite crime reporter’ for the disgraceful job she did of proudly reporting that murders are up in B’ham this year and did so in thorough detail yesterday.  Murders are up here too and we hear very little about it.  Additionally, their comment forum (if that is what you call it)  seems to have no limitations as to the trash comments that commenters can make.  This is always a problem when local crime is reported.  It is a forum for sick minds and could trigger copycat crime, and sometimes I think that is what the News would like so they can get their kicks and their ‘hits’ on the comment page.  And the sad thing is too many people fall for all their crap reporting.  Most everyone I know that moves to B’ham comes to love it.  I always tell them to pay NO attention to the local news media.  Instead of being a means of healing in B’ham, they stoke the fires or controversy.

    There are some people in Birmingham that will never change their negative attitudes regardless: ‘Birmingham will lose all it’s good professionals’,  ‘Downtown B’ham is crime ridden’, ‘Economic downturns always start early in B’ham and last the longest’, are some of the attitudes that don’t want to change.  And in all of the tired, incorrect quotes I have listed above, NONE are true.  Like for example, the national economic downturn in 2008 had only minimal effect on Birmingham.

    I have ranted enough.  But I wanted to thank you for publishing this.  Perhaps you can get Birmingham Magazine to publish it.  If you are really influential, you might even be able to get the News to publish it in a very obscure location.   Thanks again.


    Skip Malone

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