2017 crime stats shine light on Mobile's goal to becoming safest - FOX10 News | WALA

2017 crime stats shine light on Mobile's goal to becoming safest city in America

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(FOX10 News) (FOX10 News)
MOBILE, AL (WALA) -

While campaigning, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson set his goal to make Mobile the safest city in America, but is the city close at all to reaching that goal?

To find out, FOX10 News reached out to more than 50 different cities to see how their crime rates compare to Mobile. 

FOX10 News received full responses from 24 cities, and partial responses from 10 more cities. While the official crime rates across the country have not yet been finalized, and haven't yet been sent to the FBI, FOX10 News felt it important to take a look at the initial numbers to see how Mobile fared in 2017 in comparison to other cities. 

The statistics show Mobile isn't as safe as you might think. 

According to the most recent crime data available for 2017, Mobile's total major crimes per 1,000 people is 60.4, meaning just over 60 out of 1,000 people in Mobile fell victim to a major crime this past year. 

Out of the 24 other cities who responded to requests for information, 21 cities had lower total crimes rates than Mobile, including Denver at 36.9, Dallas at 37, San Diego at only 20.5, and get this, Chicago at 21.4.

What about cities closer in size to that of Mobile?

Lexington, Providence, Dayton, Flint, Fresno, and Rochester, all had lower total crime rates in 2017 than Mobile.

To see all of the total major crime rates, as well as total violent crime rates from the cities who responded to FOX10 News, click here.

Furthermore, out of the 34 cities who were able to provide year-end murder numbers, 14 of those cities had fewer murders than Mobile in 2017, and 19 had more murders than Mobile.

To see a full list of the murder totals, click here. Remember, the information is not yet audited and is subject to fluctuation or change. 

FOX10 News asked Mobile's Public Safety Director, James Barber, about his thoughts on the city's crime rates. 

"The numbers that we are looking at, and I'm sure the mayor would agree, are unacceptable," said Barber. "You can go through the different cities, and find of the crime rates are high in some, and some are not, I would say that the city of Mobile is probably ranking right in the middle."

Currently, Barber said there are several programs underway to address the heightened crime rate. 

"You see the police department engaging with fourth and fifth-grade resistance and training programs, (the) 'You Have a Choice' program teaches life's choices and consequences to the middle schoolers. By the time they are in ninth grade, there is the 'Bridging the Gap' program, where law enforcement work one on one with ninth graders who may be at risk," explained Barber.

So will any changes be made to the police department's tactics in 2018?

"I think what you can expect to see from the police department in the very near future, that laser focus on the hotspots, where there are disproportionate numbers of crimes occurring, you'll see the focus on those offenders causing the most damage to our community," said Barber. "You'll also see a lot of those programs coming out of the law enforcement field as well as the administration, that deal with the social controls, helping families, and assisting them before there's criminal activity, as well as in the education system, you'll see us addressing that, and the community revitalization efforts in the city."

With those measures in place, Barber believes Mobile is still on track to becoming the safest city in America, however, he said more work needs to be done. 

"The numbers are certainly not trending in the direction that we anticipate to go, in order to get our goals of being the safest city in America," said Barber.

However, while Mobile certainly didn't come out on top in the crime stats line up so far, it also wasn't last. 

Wichita, St. Louis, Little Rock, and Salt Lake City had higher total major crime rates than Mobile in 2017.

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