BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (WIAT) — Birmingham city leaders held a town hall Monday night and recent violence was among the topics discussed.
“The issues of crime in our city. They deserve a response,” said Mayor Randall Woodfin during Monday’s meeting.
Woodfin told neighbors in district 3 that the Birmingham Police Department is working to add more officers.
“We are intentional about closing that gap so the first thing is rehiring retired officers. The second thing is retiring laterally, officers from other jurisdictions, and the third thing is to beef up the number of recruitment classes,” said Woodfin.
Additional officers are only part of the solution. Woodfin says the recent gun violence, including assaults and shooting into homes or vehicles, shows a disregard for human life.
“They’re all very personal in nature, the majority of them, the victim, and the defendant have some existing relationship,” said Woodfin.
New BPD Police Chief Patrick Smith said the department has made some changes that he thinks will help.
“We’ve changed into our robbery homicide division so that we have not just 5 or 6 investigators out, we have 20 investigators who work very serious crimes within the community,” said Chief Smith.
Illegal firearms were among issues Woodfin and Smith discussed Monday. So far more than 2,000 have been seized from offenders in 2018.
Woodfin said many crimes are not happening in plain sight.
“They’re not doing it in front of the police. They’re not doing it in front of witnesses,” said Woodfin.
Police will soon be adding cameras to several communities in hopes that footage may help prosecute crimes and prevent crimes when possible.
The city will also continue reaching out to teens and young adults. There was a summit this past weekend.
“We’ve brought together teens from all over the city to talk about the things in the community that impact them. What is important to them,” said Smith.
City leaders hope to have a handful of cameras installed in each district in the near future.