B’ham West Precinct working to reduce Crime through community partnership
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham’s gun violence is so bad the mayor declared it a public health crisis.
Last year, there were 99 homicides. This year, there have already been eight shooting death. Half of those deaths were on Birmingham’s west side.
West Precinct Commander Captain Sean Edwards and his officers are working to rid this community of the crime. He said it starts by building bridges between police and community. That means showing up for the good and the bad. Edwards said they’re doing that and it’s paying off.
“Now the blue wall, the blue curtain has been removed. And now the dialogue is a little bit more frequent and they feel secure about coming to me and telling me things,” Edwards said.
That’s led to crime reduction. Edwards said a quick snapshot shows from December to January burglaries were down 24 percent. Vehicle break-ins dropped by 22 percent, and in those two months nearly 100 guns were removed off the streets.
"We are moving a lot of guns that could probably end up in some bad places and doing some bad things,” said Edwards.
The community is stepping up and so are police. The West Precinct has beefed up safety check points.
"This has allowed us to stop a lot of vehicles that has a lot of citizens contact, which in turns helps decrease the shootings. We are really trying to address the gun violence. That’s what the citizens have been talking about,” said Edwards.
The new police department schedule has also put more boots on the ground. Officers are working four shifts instead of three.
"There are certain peak hours of the day where we have more officers on the streets, where more officers can respond. They can cover some more ground as it relates to patrolling. And to see more officers out there moving around it’s a great deterrent. So, there’s a pretty big win,” said Edwards.
But Edwards said the biggest win is the partnership this precinct is building in the community.
”People are connecting with us and we appreciate their help,” he said.
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