Montgomery, Ala., is trying to make sense of a sharp decline in homicides so far this year, following a spike in 2013 that the city’s Advertiser newspaper called a “tsunami of violence.” The Alabama Capital has recorded four homicides in 2013, down from 18 at the same time last year. The city of 225,000 recorded 50 homicides in 2013, up from 32 the year before and the highest total since 1980.
Mayor Todd Strange told the Advertiser that the homicide decline may be related to shock over a triple homicide at a Montgomery nightclub on Dec. 28. He said there was “lip service” paid to the homicide problem before that shooting. But afterward, “we really felt like there was an attitude shift–that the community really wanted to help, really wanted to do something.” Virtually all of the 2013 homicide victims were black, and most of the violence occurred on the city’s poor west side.