Bessemer PD chief address rise in gun violence

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BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — There’s been an uptick in gun violence throughout the city of Birmingham and it’s been a similar trend for surrounding areas. The city of Bessemer is also dealing with an increase in crime. 

In the past four months, the Bessemer Police Department has had over 18 homicides. This is the same amount of total homicides all of 2020.

“Bessemer has never experienced this in my 31 years of being here we’ve never experienced this type of violence in the city of Bessemer,” Bessemer PD Chief Michael Roper said.

Roper said he believes the rise in crime is due to more people having access to firearms.

“Everyone knows like I know a 14- or 15-year-old does not know what to do with a firearm has no business with it in their hands. so that’s our main problem and that’s what we are concentrating on,” said Roper.

Just in the past four months, the department has taken 135 firearms off the streets of Bessemer.

“We’re trying to figure out the mentality of the people. The total disregard for life. the total disregard for human life that’s what’s going on now,” said Roper.

“The police are out in the streets daily but it’s more than what we can handle at this time because it’s happening so rapidly,” City Council President Pro Tem Jesse Matthews Bessemer said.

Matthews says the city is at its breaking point dealing with the ongoing gun violence.

“Wish we could all just get along and stop the violence and let’s talk things over instead of picking up a gun to resolve problems,” said Matthews.

Moving forward the police department says it’s going to be a team effort to help prevent the ongoing violence.

“People have got to step in. we must get the religious community, the community itself, the police department, and anyone else who would want to join we could handle this. this can get under control,” said Roper.

Roper says his team is putting in extra hours to help solve the homicides, but they can only do so much on their own.

Bessemer PD says they have an open-door policy when it comes to tips and names will remain anonymous. Click here to contact the department.

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