Despite recording the highest number of homicides since 2008, data shows property crime continued a steady downward trend in Tuscaloosa County last year.

Sheriff Ron Abernathy told the Tuscaloosa Thread that crime in the area has been on the decline for the last 18 years and has dropped precipitously since 2018. For instance, last year the county saw the fewest number of thefts, burglaries, breaking and entering vehicles and property crimes in recent history.

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Abernathy said Tuscaloosa County saw a 34 decrease in theft and a 64 percent drop in burglaries compared to 2010. The sheriff attributed this “dramatic reduction in crime” to several key changes that local law enforcement has recently implemented.

The sheriff's office has rearranged assets, placing more deputies on the streets and recalling out-of-county deputies back to Tuscaloosa County. Specifically, Abernathy created a Crime Suppression Unit that focuses on “areas being victimized by violent offenders and property crimes.”

Additionally, the sheriff's department partnered with the University of Alabama to create a mobile app that allows citizens to submit anonymous tips in order to help solve crimes. The app, called UA Safety, is free to download from the app store and shares the same name as a Twitter account aimed at promoting news and safety guidelines.

“Open dialogue with our citizens plays a key role in combatting crime," Abernathy said. Successful law enforcement depends on its relationship with its citizens, and that is where we focus our energy."

With the help of their expanded social media efforts, Abernathy said the increased involvement of Tuscaloosa residents who are submitting tips and home-security videos more than ever before has played a huge role in the decline of crime in the area.

“Citizens working in close cooperation with our deputies is what keeps this county a great place to live,” Abernathy said.

To stay up-to-date with safety guidelines, download the UA Safety app in the app store and follow @UA_Safety on Twitter.

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