Violent Crime Down in Tuscaloosa, Automotive Crimes Spike
The Tuscaloosa Police Department released its 2018 Annual Report Tuesday and the crime statistics it showed were a mixed bag. Violent Crime in Tuscaloosa continues a trend of steady decline, but the unlawful breaking and entering of vehicles and automotive thefts spiked last year.
According to the statistics in the report, there were 8 murders in the Druid City in 2018, down from 10 in 2017 and 14 in 2016. Armed robberies also dropped to a 10-year low -- only 143 were reported last year, down from 166 in 2017 and 178 in 2016.
Burglaries in the area have also seen a steady decrease. 1,534 were reported in 2009, and only 746 were reported last year, a decrease of 51 percent.
The report showed increases in automotive theft and vehicular break-ins, though. 310 cars were reported stolen last year, up from 189 in 2018 -- a 64 percent increase on the year. TPD also reported 1,210 vehicle break in, up from 1,116 in 2017 and 824 in 2016.
In the report, the Tuscaloosa Police Department said almost 900 of the vehicles that were broken into last year were left unlocked, and 223 guns were stolen from those vehicles. More than half of the 310 vehicles stolen last year were also left unlocked.
The department used the statistics to emphasize their Lock It or Lose It campaign, noting that on average, three cars are broken into in Tuscaloosa every day, and 75 percent of them are unlocked and easy targets for thieves.
In other report highlights, the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force said they arrested 1,221 suspects on drug charges in 2018 and seized 4 cars, 130 guns and $162,728 cash from them.
The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit reported upticks in attempted murders, up to 29 in 2018 from 25 in 2018, and in felony assaults, up to 134 in 2018 from 98 in 2018.
The VCU also reported a 100 percent homicide case clearance rate for the last five years, meaning that every homicide investigation in the Tuscaloosa area since 2013 has led to an arrest. The national clearance rate is 61 percent.
The police department made 4,369 arrests last year, wrote 22,914 reports and investigated 6,777 automobile accidents.