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.
- Do you recognize this suspected Mountain Brook, Birmingham robber?
- Woman robbed at gunpoint in Mountain Brook’s Office Park
- Mountain Brook armed robbery attempt ‘eye-opening’ for victim
- Police respond to armed robbery attempt at Brookwood Village Macy’s Thursday night
- Man caught with pants down watching Mountain Brook joggers
- Police issue sketch of armed robber who held up 4 teens on Mountain Brook walking trail
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 al.com, 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.
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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).