New task force aims to reduce violent crime around Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) -- Law enforcement agencies from the local, state, and federal level held its first meeting aimed at reducing crime across the Birmingham area.

U.S. Attorney for Northern Alabama Jay Town and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced the plan through a news release after the first meeting was held Friday.

Lloyd Peeples, 1st Assistant U.S. Attorney said federal agencies will be sharing information and resources with local departments.

"if we were operating at a 3 right now, we're going to turn it up to 10," said Peeples.

According to Peeples, strategies could include more personnel behind the scenes and on the streets.

"What you're going to see is those BPD officers working with a DEA agent, an ATF agent or maybe somebody also from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office to where we have a much more concerted and aggressive effort," said Peeples.

That's welcome news for folks in neighborhoods like Belview Heights in Birmingham. Neighbors like Allene Carbonie have been vocal about crime concerns and busy with their neighborhood watch.

"We have a block captain on our block which we are very thankful for and it stops some of the problems," Carbonie said.

Carbonie is glad to hear BPD will have additional help in the future. Federal prosecutors could opt to pursue federal charges that would carry stiffer penalties.

"A lot of this is going to be to try to bring federal charges against the worst of the worst or what we would call the alpha criminals to try to punish those individuals and bring those harder consequences," said Peeples.

Agencies involved include Birmingham Police, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Shelby County Drug Task Foce, Housing Authority of Birmingham Division, the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, and Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Federal agencies include the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, and Homeland Security Investigations.

According to Peeples, the Northern Alabama U.S. Attorney's Office recently received an additional prosecutor specifically for violent crimes. 

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