Birmingham is getting safer according to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. He says the latest statistics show many crimes are down compared to a year ago. Overall, violent crime decreased almost 15%, homicides dropped by 11% and robberies are down about 20%. WBHM’s Andrew Yeager spoke with Mayor Woodfin.
One category that didn’t drop, breaking and entering vehicles:
“In 2018 we declared gun violence a public health crisis. And so we’ve been aggressive in attempting to decrease felony assaults with guns, taking guns off the street, [the] number of shots fired into the city and homicides by gun as well … the number one thing people are looking for when they break into your vehicle is a licensed pistol, pretty much a legal gun. That’s what people are breaking into cars for these days.”
What’s behind the drop in crime:
“I believe it’s a variety of things. I’ll start with our Chief of Police Patrick Smith and his leadership, which includes several things he changed with the police department. He allowed us to put more police officers on the street. It wasn’t just crowd the streets and flood the city with badges. It was more so to engage in smart policing. I think it addition to that, giving our detectives more resources and having the ability to solve crimes. Because we solved, in the past, when crime was not only high, if so many crimes were going unsolved, there was an element out here that just kept doing the same activity. So the ability to actually close and solve a case and bring someone to justice has been helpful.”
Whether this trend will continue:
“We can only hope crime continues to decrease. We want crime to continue to decrease. We’re going to remain vigilant. Part of what you want to see is the comparison to other similar-sized cities. In addition to that you want to see other cities who have the type of crimes we have too. If we decrease and they have remained the same or increased, it means our strategies are working and that gives me more confidence.”
Photo by Tex Texin