Fatal shootings in T-Town have been the subject of the Franklin Stove Blog (FSB) before. In 2020 nineteen year old Schuyler Bradley was shot to death. A wrongful death lawsuit against the shooter and a bar on The Strip was filed in August, 2022, as reported by the FSB.
The most recent death in T-Town of a 23 year old women who was shot to death on January 15, 2023, may garner more attention because one of the people who was arrested in connection to the “shootout” had been a University of Alabama basketball player.
NBC-News‘ Dennis Romero wrote:
The shooting was reported early Sunday in the nightlife district. Sheriff’s officials didn’t say which of the two suspects is alleged to have opened fire or whether they believe both did so.
Al.com‘s Carol Robinson wrote about the shooting’s victim:
The young woman shot to death while driving along the Strip in Tuscaloosa was loved by all, according to her grieving mother.
There have been longstanding problems with having an adequate police presence on The Strip. Tuscaloosa Police Department Chief Brent Blankley was reported by WVUA/23‘s Aajene Robinson to have said, “We are having to put a lot of officers down on the Strip that could go to other areas and increase security.”
Gun violence has not completely restricted to bars on The Strip. In 2012 seventeen people were wounded by a gunman in another area frequented by students, as reported by Reuters.
Shootings at bars near campus are commonplace in communities other than T-Town, such as in the case of Seattle‘s University District, as reported by the Seattle Time’s Daisy Zavala Magaña and Amanda Zhou. They wrote that some University of Washington students felt less secure in the University District than they did in downtown Seattle.
The ASU Center for Problem-Oriented Policing‘s paper “Assaults in and Around Bars” by Michael S. Scott and Kelly Dedel lists the concentration of bars as a contributing factor to crime:
The evidence on the effect of bar concentration is mixed. Some bars attract crime, while others are merely affected by crime in the surrounding neighborhood. Blocks with bars have higher levels of reported crime than blocks with no bars. High concentrations of bars can increase barhopping, and if all bars close at the same time, the risks of conflicts on the street increase. But the mere fact that a neighborhood has a high concentration of bars does not necessarily mean there will be higher crime levels in the area.
As the FSB has pointed out, there has been a concentration of bars and Gastropubs on The Strip.
University of Alabama students would be well advised not to frequent The Strip, but even shooting deaths are not likely to deter many students from being willing targets in the area that has become the center of their social life in T-Town.
5 thoughts on “T-Town’s University Blvd–a Danger Zone?”
The basketball player who was one of two men arrested and charged for capital murder in the shooting death of a 23-year-old Birmingham woman on Sunday near The Strip in Tuscaloosa has claimed to be innocent, according to The Patch‘s Ryan Phillips.
WVTM‘s Chip Scarborough reported on the reaction to the shooting of Council Member Lee Busby.
“That’s the heart of campus. That campus is the economic engine driving the city. The development going around there. Go count the 60 and 80 million dollar developments within 4 to 5 blocks of there. That’s just not going to go on.”
Busby suggested one remedy to the problems on the Strip would be to “put it off limits. I mean, close it down. You can lower the hours. ‘You can enforce more diligently’ is a tough haul with the number of police officers we have.”
WVTM/13‘s Ayron Lewallen interviewed Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.
“Tuscaloosa city leaders met for their regular council meeting on Tuesday. There was no mention of the deadly weekend shooting during the meeting, but WVTM 13 did talk to the mayor afterward who said his daughter lives about 200 yards from where the shooting happened.
“Maddox begs anyone who sees or knows anything when violent crime happens to say something. He said most of those crimes can be stopped and multiple people often know what’s happening but choose to do nothing.”
Al.com‘s Mike Rodak reported that Alabama’s basketball coach Nate Oats had this to say about Darius Miles:
“Miles comes from a “really good family,” noting that Miles’ father David is retired military and his mother, Tracy Palmer, is a police officer in the Washington, D.C. area.”
Tuscaloosa News Editor Ken Roberts reported that the city and University have teamed up to create a new police precinct on the Strip. Roberts wrote, “The move comes about a month after the Jan. 15 shooting death of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris of Birmingham near the Strip. Former University of Alabama basketball player Darius Miles, 21, and 20-year-old Michael Lynn Davis remain in jail on capital murder charges in connection with Harris’ death.
“Before the fatal shooting, Tuscaloosa police had expressed increasing concerns about safety on the Strip. In September 2021, the Tuscaloosa Police Department announced they would beef up their presence on the Strip after officers said they had noticed an increase in instances of loitering and littering, open drug use and open alcoholic beverage container violations in the area.”