David Sher of The Comeback Town has written a response to John Bennett’s article on post-1963 Birmingham which recently appeared in The American Thinker:
“I can understand why Mr. Bennett was so confused. He assumed Birmingham and Jefferson County were the same entity. Why shouldn’t he? How would he know that Jefferson County has 37 municipalities and that Birmingham and Jefferson County are not interchangeable? …
The only reason Birmingham may be categorized as violent is that FBI crime statistics compare the City of Birmingham with other metropolitan areas. So the City of Birmingham is being measured against metro Nashville or metro Jacksonville. Metro Nashville and Jacksonville also have high crime urban areas, but they are balanced out with safe suburbs located within their city limits. Mt. Brook, Vestavia, and Trussville are not included in Birmingham’s numbers. The equivalent neighborhoods would be incorporated into other metros. Birmingham’s metro crime statistics are about average.”
Having lived in the Birmingham area, I am fully aware that Birmingham and Jefferson County (AL) are not interchangeable. No one would ever confuse Vestavia Hills or Trussville with Birmingham or Bessemer.
Out of curiosity, I went over to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center and downloaded Crime In Alabama 2011. The “Crime By County” Report in Appendix B on page 78 provides some fascinating information about crime in Birmingham and its ring of White suburban municipalities in Jefferson County.
Here’s a summary of my findings:
Birmingham, which is 73.4% African-American, has 31% of the population of Jefferson County (AL), but accounts for 51.9% of index crime, 62.7% of homicide, 59.4% of rape, 64.2% of robbery, 64.5% of assault, 49.3% of burglary, 49.9% of theft and 58.6% of the motor vehicle theft in Jefferson County.
Bessemer, which is 74.2% African-American, has 4% of the population of Jefferson County (AL), but accounts for 9.3% of the index crimes, 11.6% of homicide, 7.5% of rape, 8% of robbery, 10.2% of assault, 8.3% of burglary, 9.5% of theft, and 12.4% of the motor vehicle theft in Jefferson County.
Fairfield, which is 94.6% African-American, has 1.7% of the population of Jefferson County (AL), but accounts for 3.7% of index crimes, 4.6% of homicides, 2.9% of rape, 5.2% of robbery, 2.7% of assault, 3.7% of burglary, 3.5% of theft, and 4.2% of motor vehicle theft in Jefferson County.
Birmingham’s largest White suburbs in Jefferson County (AL) are Vestavia Hills which is 90.4% White, Mountain Brook which is 97.2% White, Trussville which is 96.7% White, Hoover which is 75.1% White, Homewood which is 74.6% White, Gardendale which is 88.4% White, and Leeds which is 78.7% White.
Collectively, Birmingham’s White suburbs have a combined population of 207,706 which is 30.3% of the population of Jefferson County (AL). The White suburbs are roughly the size of Birmingham which has a population of 213,258 and which is 31% of the population of Jefferson County.
Birmingham’s White suburbs have 30.3% of the population of Jefferson County (AL), but account for only 13.8% of index crimes, 1% of homicide, 6.5% of rape, 6.1% of robbery, 4.8% of assault, 9.2% of burglary, 17.7% of theft, and 12.5% of motor vehicle theft in Jefferson County.
If we combine the crime in majority black Birmingham with the crime in majority black Bessemer and Fairfield, we find that these three cities account for 64.9% of index crime, 78.9% of homicide, 69.8% of rape, 77.4% of robbery, 77.4% of assault, 61.3% of burglary, 62.9% of theft, and 75.2% of motor vehicle theft in Jefferson County.
Undoubtedly, the actual black contribution to crime in Jefferson County (AL) is understated here due to the large numbers of black individuals present in Hoover and Homewood and especially in other cities such as Irondale and Hueytown which are too diverse to include in a head-to-head comparison of black and White civilization in the Birmingham metro area.
Note: In Appendix C: City Data, we find on page 95 that from 2010 to 2011 there was a 170% increase in homicide, a 125% increase in rape, a 143% increase in robbery, a 132% increase in assault, a 123% increase in burglary, a 99% increase in larceny, and an 82% increase in motor vehicle increase in Birmingham.
Who is responsible for this increase in crime? Could it be the same financially stressed black people who are responsible for the explosion of title pawn and payday loan businesses in Birmingham? Both are growth industries in David Sher’s
“The Comeback City” (read: The Tragic City) these days.