Birmingham, Alabama, is frequently near
the top of the list of American cities with the highest murder rate, and 2017
was grisly even by Magic City standards. 111 people were killed in Birmingham
last year – the most killings the city’s seen in two decades. Let’s find out where
those homicides happened. The raw data can be a little overwhelming, but it
doesn’t take long for patterns to emerge. In 2016, 104 people were killed in
Birmingham, which has a population of around 212,000.
When you compare that to places like Nashville, which has a population of
around 684,000 and had 84 homicides in 2016,
it starts to look like something might be wrong with Birmingham. So if you live
there, is it dangerous business, going out your door?
Not exactly. Location, and time of day, both make a world of difference. Using
the interstates you can pretty much cut Birmingham into quadrants. Nearly half of
the city’s slayings took place south of I-20 and west of I-65.
Those areas and the northeast portion of the city combine to account for more
than 70% of all killings in Birmingham. The southeast and northwest saw 21 and
11 slayings, respectively, and there are several parts of the city that hardly
saw any violent death. For instance, Central City in the heart
of downtown had zero homicides last year. The same is true for the Grasselli
community in southwest Birmingham. In fact, most of Birmingham’s 99
neighborhoods had little or no killings. 72 had one or none. But that leaves
another nine communities where six or more people were killed last year,
including the top homicide spot in the city: Five Points West.
Five Points West is a community made up of six neighborhoods, and at least one
person was killed in all six of them in 2017, adding up to 16 total. Right behind that is West End, where 14 people were
killed. When it comes to homicides, that community is home to the two deadliest
neighborhoods in the city: Arlington West End and West End Manor, which both saw
six homicides in 2017. Three other communities round out the top five
with nine killing apiece. Want to explore further? Check out the
map in the comments to see how your neighborhood did in 2017. For Reckon, I’m
Ramsey Archibald.