Birmingham law enforcement 'crime reduction' strategy aimed at gangs

Birmingham law enforcement 'crime reduction' strategy aimed at gangs

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham Police are launching a new initiative in an attempt to reduce violent crime in the city, but they're not going at it alone. Mayor William Bell, Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper, Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls, and U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance are all working together to target known groups in the city.

If you're in any kind of group, whether it be a gang or posse, and you commit a crime, you and the entire group will be arrested.

Over the past five years Birmingham Police have collected data on all the shootings, and murders in the city. That data was sent to John Jay College of Criminal Justice and analyzed.

"They did the linkage, which names popped up, which names were connected to these different types of crimes, they're on the scenes, they were with someone who was arrested for a homicide, whatever the case might be. So based on all those factors a certain number of names bubbled up at the top," said Chief A.C. Roper.

Now when a shooting occurs, police are going to arrest the shooter and look to see what group that shooter belonged to, police will then go arrest everyone else in the group for various crimes.

"We're going to look at anything and everything that that group is doing," said District Attorney Falls. "If they're on parole we're going to try and get their parole revoked. If they're on bond awaiting a case we're going to try to get their bond revoked and have them put in jail, awaiting their case. If they're stealing cable, we're going to have the cable company come and turn off their cable. If they're stealing power we're going to have Alabama Power turn off their power."

Falls, Mayor Bell, Chief Roper and Judge Vance met with 22 men Tuesday evening who on the list. These men are considered likely to kill or likely to be killed. The men were told of the new initiative and the consequences to the crimes.

Marcus Carson, the executive director of a mentoring organization called Growing Kings, said the initiative is a proactive approach in the right direction.

"If these guys are able to really see and feel that that support is there for them as they continue to age and mature and eradicate themselves from these circumstances, I'm optimistic there will be some more positive outcomes associated with it," Carson said.

And part of the message to known criminals in our area is you can change your path, there's a system in place for you to do so, or you can deal with this new policing system that's being put in place.

"We're not going to ask them to make this choice by themselves. We're not going to ask them to do it alone, so each one of the men we saw today we're providing a phone number that gives them direct access to social support service, whether they need jobs or assistance or counciling or a place to stay for the night," Dr. Jarralyne Agge, the initiative manager, said.

Chief AC Roper says this is basically peer pressure with a helping hand.

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