New promise to crack down on gun violence in Birmingham

Updated: Apr. 23, 2021 at 4:23 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said Friday many in the city are gripped by sadness and fear because of gun violence.

The mayor and others are promising a crackdown on those pulling the trigger.

The mayor, police, and Sheriff, along with prosecutors, have come together in the past, but because of the increase in shootings which have caused deaths and injuries of bystanders, they said a crackdown will get the shooters off the streets.

The shooting at Patton Park Easter Sunday left a 32-year-old woman dead and others injured, including a five year old.

“We can not let a small group of people who are hellbent on destroying themselves and hurting others to rule and dictate the day,” Woodfin said.

The city will work with the Birmingham Police Department, the Sheriff, the District Attorney and the U.S. Attorney’s office to identify those committing these gun crimes.

“If you decide to carry a gun illegally in Jefferson County, there will be consequences,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr.

Carr said people will be prosecuted and serve time for their offense and then they could face federal charges for the same crime. This year, Birmingham police have pulled 800 guns off the streets. Last year, it was almost 2,400.

“The number one problem we have - people are storing their guns in their cars at night,” said Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith.

Police say those guns are later stolen and used in gun violence. All of those who spoke out against gun violence said they cannot do this alone. They are asking parents to check up on their children.

“Know what they are getting up into. Check their bookbag, under their bed, their car. Make sure they don’t walk out with a gun,” Woodfin said.

The city plans to use $148 million in federal CARES money to support prevention programs and re-entry programs for those convicted of crimes to get them to turn away from gun violence.

Woodfin says he’s looking at ways to fight the ‘no snitch’ culture, which includes a witness protection program like the federal government uses.

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