BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Friday, federal, state, and local law officials announced a cooperative effort in the decrease of gun violence in the city of Birmingham and Jefferson County.
Over the past month, the metro Birmingham area has experienced a uptick in violent crime, sparking concern within several communities. Many of the cases, including an Easter Sunday shooting at Patton Park, remain unsolved and authorities are left searching for suspects. With the recent rise in crime, officials are wanting people to come forward and report any information they can.
During Friday’s new conference, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin was joined by:
- Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith
- Jefferson County Deputy Chief David Agee
- Jefferson County District Attorney
- U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona (Northern District of Alabama)
- Birmingham City Council and Chairman of Public Safety Committee Hunter Williams
“The goal is very clear,” Woodfin said. “If you carry a gun in Birmingham and intend to do harm or have already committed a violent crime, we’ll find you and you’re going to sit down. And if you haven’t committed a crime or are illegally carrying a gun, we’ll give you a clear choice. Either work with us to get you the help you need to put the gun down or you are going to sit down too.”
Woodfin discussed the formation of the Officer Peace and Policy, funded conflict and resolution measures. He noted that the support of the $148 million that the city will receive from Washington D.C. will benefit their efforts.
“Democracy is a participatory sports,” he said. “It take’s a collective approach. It takes all of us.”
Every law official involved in the conference said that the city and the county cannot combat the gun violence alone. They need the help of the public.
Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said that 86 guns had been confiscated off the streets last week. 2,570 were recovered by authorities in 2020 and 2,200 in 2019.
“The numbers are escalating, but our officers are doing an outstanding job of removing these illegal and stolen guns on the street,” Smith said. “More importantly, we cannot even quantify the number of crimes that would’ve been committed if these guns were not removed and for the most part, most of them have been removed without incident.”
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