TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — City leaders in Tuscaloosa are taking new steps to combat gun violence.
It has been a deadly summer with a number of shootings. In recent weeks, police have investigated three homicides, including Ofc. Dornell Cousette.
Recently, the Tuscaloosa City Council approved an anti-violence campaign using TV, billboards and social media in an attempt to stop gun violence and to hopefully save lives in the process.
District 2 City Councilwoman Raevan Howard said something must be down about recent shootings and homicides in Tuscaloosa.
“Last week, we had three homicides within 72 hours, so being proactive about the gun violence in our community is important,” Howard said. “One way to do is to keep bringing awareness through awareness campaigns, so this is very important.
The city council approved a $100,000 anti-violence campaign to urge gun owners to lock their cars to keep stolen weapons out of the hands of criminals. Back in May, the council allocated $50,000 for an earlier media campaign to curb gun violence.
The council also approved the hiring of six new police officers.
“Regardless of how many police officers we have or add, it is a community effort and we work hand in hand with the community,” Interim Tuscaloosa Police Chief Mitt Tubbs said. “Lots of times, it’s said we are treating the symptoms opposed to the cause and that’s true to an extent, so we need to the community to be involved with us just as much as we need additional officers.”
“Adding to our police department and being supportive of the work they do is important because these things go hand in hand when we talk about crime in our community,” Howard said.
Tubbs said there are efforts underway to develop a recruiting plan to help attract more officers. Tubbs and Howard both hope more officers and more awareness will mean less murders and shootings
“I know we will never have a perfect society, but it is important that we do our part to try to lesson the effects of gun violence every chance we get and not just be reactive every time something happens.”
In 2018, 223 guns were stolen from vehicles in Tuscaloosa with the majority of them being taken from unlocked cars.