BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith and his officers are working aggressively to get illegal weapons off the streets. He told us that “behind every weapon that we have, there is someone who had that weapon for some reason or another and may have been doing something completely irresponsible, or maybe it’s stolen.”
In a one-on-one interview with Chief Smith, he spoke about officers tracking down guns by the hundreds: just about every type of weapon you could imagine. CBS 42 obtained pictures from police showing an arsenal of weapons from the more than 1500 guns police say they confiscated. “This year we’ve taken a record number of guns off the streets,” the chief said. “I want to say almost two to three hundred more than last year and last year was higher than the year before that.”
Police also provided CBS 42 with a video of the department destroying some of the weapons. Chief Smith insisted he plans goes beyond that: “Our goal is to not just get the weapons but get those responsible for the shootings in the community and wreaking havoc on our neighborhoods.”
Ultimately, this initiative is about making Birmingham safer. BPD’s latest crime statistics show citywide crime is down in just about every category, with the exception of murders. As of August second, homicides are up, but only at a rate of 5.1%.
“We can show statistically that we are probably reporting 7000 fewer crimes each year, and we’re down approximately about 29 to 32 percent since 2018.” That was his first year as Birmingham Police Chief.
Smith added this about partnering with the community: “We want them to know that we support them, we want them to know that we’re their partner in reducing crime and we want to see the change in the community that they want.”
CBS 42 talked with the chief as a follow-up to a Your Voice Your Station story the station did with him late last year. That’s when CBS 42 went along as he visited with neighbors in Norwood. He was in uniform for our interview. He says that’s the case for all of his officers. He called it “all hand on deck” as they get new technology online soon and partner with the community.