By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia spoke at a news conference at Samford University to announce a collaborative project to promote student safety at five colleges and universities in the Birmingham area. Samford University in Homewood has received a $499,551 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for an initiative called “Safety in Numbers.”
That project will also involve the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Montevallo, and Miles College. Samford will be the lead school in the project. There are over 30,000 students in the Birmingham Area Consortium for Higher Education (BACHE).
Rep. Bachus said in a written statement, “We can be proud that five of our outstanding institutions of higher education in the Birmingham area have come together for a project that should serve as a national model for promoting student safety and particularly the safety of women. This is a unique approach to personal safety that involves not just traditional campus security and law enforcement, but the expertise of human services and counseling agencies in our community. It recognizes that the best way to deal with violence is to prevent it in the first place, and there is every reason to believe that young lives will be saved by the initiative being announced here at Samford University today.”
According to original reporting by Mary Wimberley on the Samford website, the Coordinator of the project Dr. Jonathan C. Davis said, “The education supported by the grant will help improve communication concerning gender, power and other key topics that impact our relationships and health,”
The schools will partner with a number of human services and counseling agencies in the community. The project is designed to provide a comprehensive approach to campus safety and the prevention of violence, especially against female students.
According to FBI crime statistics at the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, 311 persons were murdered in Alabama in 2011, up 22% from 2010. 33% of those murders remain unsolved. 55 of those murder victims were female. 68% of murder victims were killed with firearms. In 2011 1404 women and girls were raped in Alabama (in 2012 the FBI will add the rape of men and boys to the rape reporting). That is up 11% from 2010. Only 46% of rape cases were solved in 2011. Guns were used in only 2% of Alabama rapes. 13,690 people were assaulted in Alabama in 2011,that is up from 12,157 in 2010 and is a continuation of an upward trend over the last five years of 24% since 2007.
For more crime statistics and information view the ACJIC report:
To learn more about the grant and Samford’s plan for the money: