On Your Side Investigations

Nearly a year later, family still searching for answers in 23-year-old’s death

It’s been nearly a year of agony for the family of Deanthony Amari Cooper-Cain.In February 2019, police say the 23-year-old was one of two people shot while driving along Avenue W near Pratt City. The case remains unsolved.

  Bail: The balance between rights and public safety

  Recognizing Hate: FBI begins counting its own hate crime cases in federal data, inaccurate numbers remain

Can Good RX Save You Money?

  Watching Your Wallet: Make smart money moves before 2020

  Two years later and the Jefferson County cemetery board still hasn’t met. What’s the hold up?

  Birmingham police taking scientific approach to fight crime

Continued Coverage

  Toys that can watch you: Protecting your child from hackable toys

Most law enforcement agencies in Jefferson County using Narcan, except where deaths are highest

  New revelations about alleged sexual misconduct at Indian Springs School and Birmingham church

  Data incomplete when it comes to infant deaths

  Abuse of Power?: Power of Attorney

  Preying on patriotism: Sham veterans and first-responder charities ousted for deception, their professional fundraisers largely left unscathed

  Watching Your Wallet: Don’t break your gift budget this holiday season

Americans plan to spend an average of $825 on holiday gifts this year, according to NerdWallet. Experts give you ways to stay on budget and find the best deals.

  Cashing in on Charity: Donations meant to help sick children, wounded veterans, abused animals instead benefit for-profit fundraisers

Professional fundraisers are for-profit companies that contract with charities to solicit donations by telephone or through the mail. The industry is loosely regulated and can keep as much as 100% of donated dollars.

  Is Birmingham Water Works getting a rebate, and what will they do with it?

A Birmingham Water Works Board member testified in court that his utility is due to receive "hundred of thousands of dollars" in repayment from a contractor as a result of overbilling, but the utility's General Manager says he knows nothing about it.

  Has anything changed at Birmingham Water Works?

We wanted to know what, if any, changes the BWWB has made to their internal spending controls or auditing procedures since Lewis’ arrest or conviction, so we asked General Manager Michael Johnson.

  Birmingham Water Works: “Our Billing System is Adequate”

  Bogus Bills?: Birmingham Water Works Customers Seeing Strange Bills

  Scientists developing ‘smart toilet’ to collect health data

The Price of Air: The R-22 ban is approaching, how will it impact your air conditioner?

  Read or Repeat: Concerns about Alabama’s new literacy law

  Genetic testing scams targeting seniors

  Social Studies: The digital world and the toll on our children

Social media is a daily part of life for teens and their constant posts on Instagram or Snapchat could take a toll on their mental health.

Top Alabama scams: What you need to know

You might think you’re too savvy to fall for a scam, but thieves are constantly using new tactics and finding ways to fool even the most skeptical people.

Missed Opportunity: Federal initiative meant to help poor neighborhoods benefits the rich

Neighborhoods with an average income of about six-figures are labeled “distressed” by the federal government.

  The ridesharing impact on drunk driving

Are ridesharing services having an impact on drunk driving? The Center for Advanced Public Safety at the University of Alabama gives us a look at the numbers.

  Romance scams are a growing problem in Alabama

What would you do for love? If it’s true love, your answer might be ‘anything.’

  Hidden Damage: Wrecked, flooded border patrol truck sold at dealership without damage declared

A Virginia man bought a car from a dealership. The title and history looked clear, but it turned out the truck had a dangerous history.

  Haunted houses are scary, but are they safe?

Arachnophobia, coulrophobia, and pyropobia. Spiders and clowns are guaranteed.

  Are you getting the internet speed you’re paying for?

A lot of us pay for high speed internet, but are we getting what we’re paying for? And do we really know how fast it is? A computer expert walks us through how you can test your internet speed,

  Your typos could put your computer at risk

You could end up harming your computer by accidentally misspelling websites. We speak with a cyber security expert about "typosquatting" and why its important to bookmark your favorite sites!

  Fake Filters? Made-up addresses, strange receipts and copycat websites reveal knock-offs on the market

After several strange clues, a Michigan father questions whether his water filters are authentic. Experts say counterfeit filters are a growing problem in the United States.

  Will Alabama have enough social workers?

A new Bureau of Labor Statistics report predicts social work will be one of the fastest growing fields in the next decade, but convincing college students to choose it as their major will require hard work.

  More banks embracing cardless ATMs

New technology makes it easier to get your money. Banks across the country are embracing cardless ATMs. We’re looking into this growing trend and why thieves are catching onto it too.

  Watching Your Wallet: Student loan debt reaches all-time high

College graduates now owe the most money in history; experts say it's best to pay it back sooner rather than later.

  Etowah County’s ICE detention facility now “about jobs,” not money

If you think Etowah County's contract with the federal government to house ICE detainees is a big moneymaker for the county, think again.

  Why you should wipe your phone before selling it

An international study from Blancco Technology Group and Ontrack found that almost half of the electronics they examined still had residual data on them.

  Posting online reviews, good or bad

The Consumer Review Fairness Act gives you the right to post honest reviews about companies you do business with.

  Birmingham woman asking for help with unusual water bill

Dukes says she found a door hangar to tell her a meter reader had come back to double check the reading, but when she walked out to the meter, it was still caked in mud.

  Birmingham puts companies that illegally dump on notice

Illegal dumping is an ongoing problem in the city of Birmingham. The city is now targeting companies caught doing it.

  WBRC FOX6 On Your Side Investigation: Putting home inspectors to the test

You pay hundreds of dollars for a home inspector to tell you whether you're making a good buy, but how good is your inspection?

Sipsey Valley Middle School has new, certified storm shelter inside school, state law now requires it

We know in Alabama, severe weather can happen in an instant, and sometimes when kids are at school.

‘It’s a crisis under our feet’: Valley nursing homes putting the elderly at risk

Families are raising the alarm on understaffing in north Alabama's facilities.

  Locked Down: Inside the prison where inmates set each other on fire and gangs have more power than guards

Widespread concern about understaffing in Mississippi's prisons has people calling for a change. They say inmates, correctional officers and surrounding communities are in danger.

  New safety technology to prevent hot car deaths may not go far enough

Some new technology designed to alert you to a child in your backseat may give some parents a false sense of security.

  Report: Toxic chemicals found in some popular school supplies

A recent report found potentially toxic chemicals in some popular school supplies.

  FDA allowing new antidepressant on the market

UAB researchers helped get approval for this treatment, which is focused on helping the millions of Americans who do not respond to the classic antidepressants.

  Measure of Hate documentary explores the undercounting of crimes in America

InvestigateTV shows issues with undercounting hate crimes, including the FBI failing to meet a federal mandate to report. After months of reporting on this issue, this documentary also highlights results of the investigation, including police departments amending their records.

  How to (really) help your child’s teacher this school year

If you think sending an apple or even a cookie to school on the first day is all the help your teachers need - think again.

  How to turn annoying robocalls into cold, hard cash

Many people are turning robocalls into cash and making hundreds even thousands of dollars.

  Watching Your Wallet: Decade-by-decade, experts help you save for retirement

By retirement, financial experts say you should have at least eight times your annual salary saved up. NerdWallet explains how to get there, decade-by-decade.

  ADEM faces new criticism of oversight after Tyson spill

Is 7 water inspections in 16 years enough for a plant that's had 4 spills since 2011? That's one of the questions environmental activists are asking about the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's oversight in the wake of a 220,000 gallon wastewater spill from a Tyson plant in Hanceville.

  Pickens County man finds out firsthand about timeshare pitfalls

A Pickens County man finds out about the pitfalls of timeshares. He's sharing his story in hopes of warning others.

  Airsoft gun design may be too realistic for law enforcement’s taste

Airsoft guns are designed to look realistic, but a new investigation finds they may be too close for comfort to real gun appearances, and some gun manufacturers are making money off that similarity.

  Fake Filters? Companies falsely claim to have prestigious water safety certification

With water quality and safety concerns across the country, many families are turning to water filters. But there are counterfeit filters and filters carrying fake certification marks.

  JCDH: 65 health score at popular Hoover restaurant posted last month by accident

Last month, a low health score at a popular Hoover business that hasn't been open that long got our attention. Turns out, the county health department posted it by accident.

  Inside Homewood Police pursuit policy

Homewood Police put a lot of effort into making sure a high speed chase doesn't spin out of control.

  Untested Waters: Feds take small steps toward inspecting more seafood

The FDA has a new strategy for imported food safety, and Congress has increased seafood inspection funds. But the U.S. still lags behind some other countries when it comes to inspections and regulations.

  CBD products put to the test: Are you getting what you’re paying for?

CBD stores are popping up all around central Alabama. The products claim to help relieve pain, reduce stress and even help you sleep. Our On Your Side investigative team wanted to see if you are getting what you're paying for in terms of the dosages.

  Will Pickens County Sheriff get his state pension?

A look at what the law says about pension benefits after an official is convicted of a crime.

  WBRC gets firsthand look at new camera technology helping Metro Area Crime Center helicopter

The Metro Area Crime Center's new helicopter's advanced camera system is saving time, resources, and potentially lives in its first few months on patrol, we're taking you for an exclusive ride.

Watching Your Wallet: Experts say to shop around for the best deals on car insurance and cell phone plans

A NerdWallet financial expert offers tips on saving money on car insurance and cell phone bills: Watch this and don't pay for what you don't need.

  Study: Ring cameras may not be as good a crime fighting tool as advertised

Ring doorbell cameras provide great video for our newscasts and for local police departments, they’re supposed to provide a deterrent to crime.

  Cullman County woman who survived tornado believes mobile home wasn’t tied down properly

A Cullman County woman who rode out a tornado in her mobile home has questions about how it was installed.

  New warning for parents of babies on how they sleep

New Warning for Parents of Babies on How They Sleep

  You can now tell Amazon’s Alexa to delete your conversations

Amazon now allows you to delete conversations off your Alexa Echo device after privacy issues raised by consumers.

  Why are there so many unresolved car recalls?

New stats from CarFax show about 1 out of every 5 vehicles on the road are under some kind of recall and haven’t been fixed.

Surprise Medical Bills: What can you do to avoid them?

We’re looking into something you may want to check on the next time you go for a check up...surprise medical bills.

  Admissions scandal impact on local universities

How is the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal changing the way local universities conduct their admissions process?

  Watching Your Wallet: Make the most of your summer vacation

A frequent traveler and financial expert give their tips for saving money when booking flights and hotels.

  Study shows Alabama tornadoes are the deadliest in the U.S.

Research shows that Alabama tornadoes are the deadliest in the nation. The state averages 14 tornado deaths a year. From 1950 to 2016, over 630 people have died in tornadoes in Alabama compared to over 550 in Texas. A leading researcher gives us his opinion on why tornadoes are occurring more often.

Advocates for Alabama’s incarcerated oppose slowing parole

Bill would give Governor more power over paroles

  Why you can’t trust security cameras

Don't count on the cameras you see inside and outside of stores to protect you, we found plenty of reasons to be wary.

  Elderly Hoover man loses life savings in tech support scheme

An elderly Hoover man says he lost his life savings. He tells us he was tricked by someone he thought he could trust. Now he’s warning others.

ADEM & Shelby County Investigating Lay Lake Dump Site

Neighbors near Lay Lake are worried about the environmental impact of an illegal dump site and called us for help.

Watching Your Wallet: Spring housing market secrets revealed

Want to get top dollar for your home this spring? Or are you looking to buy your first home? NerdWallet gives tips for those on both sides of the equation.

  Birmingham Police working to bridge gap between youth and law enforcement

The Birmingham Police Department is working to better bridge the divide between law enforcement and youth in the community. Police Chief Patrick Smith says he's making it a priority. We’re looking into a programs that could help make a difference.

  JeffCo crews repair line, eliminate smell of human waste taking over Hoover neighborhood

A Jefferson County spokesperson said the problem was a damaged manhole that was partially blocking the line.

  DNA Detectives: Scientists combining forensics with genealogy break ‘unsolvable’ cases

Scientists are using forensic genetics to help solve decades-old cold cases.

  Failed and Forgotten

The deaths of hundreds of children because of abuse or neglect goes unnoticed every year by agencies that protect kids. Congress and a 45-year-old law are largely to blame.