BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) - Chances are you’ve seen or at least heard that Birmingham has popped up on several rankings of “Most Dangerous Cities.”
WIAT 42 News wanted to see if the city was deserving of the not so flattering recognition. We spoke with Chief A.C. Roper and found out, according to the department’s records, Birmingham’s crime numbers are dropping.
Chief Roper says next year, Birmingham should drop off the list altogether.
But how has the department been taking steps to make the rate drop? On April 16, four people shot at each other in the middle of the day on a neighborhood street. Three of them were hit.
They could have shot one of the people who live nearby. Exactly one week later, Birmingham police surprised one of the shooters. He and two others were arrested the same day.
Obviously, the task took planning, but it really wasn’t a special operation. It’s what members of the special task force do every day.
“Majority of what we do is we’re going to get the warrant on people that don’t want to be found,” said Detective Mario White.
“We usually average about 30 to 35 per month, and these are not your guys wanted for traffic violations,” said Sgt. Anderson. “These are the guys that are wanted for capital murder, murder, robberies.”
The special task force is just one example of the new approach the Birmingham Police Department is taking to try to cut down on crime.
“Literally, you have to attack an issue over here while you’re simultaneously dealing with a problem on a different side of town,” Roper said.
There’s the CRT team, the NET, or Neighborhood Enforcement Team, plus detectives patrol, all working specific jobs with one main focus: making Birmingham safer.
WIAT 42 News asked the Chief Roper if the efforts are working.
“We’re not where we want to be, but when we look over the last 10 years we see that the city is trending in the right direction,” Roper said.
But what does that mean, exactly?
Roper’s comments are referencing the total number of crimes Birmingham has ever year.
The department totals up the number of crimes the city has ever year including murders, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, and property crimes. We looked at the numbers and found out they have been dropping over the last ten years. In 2003, the city had 22,921 crimes. In 2013, the number dropped to 17,385.
“We believe we can do better. We still have work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Roper said.
Last year, 63 people were murdered, which is lower than the year before, but most people would agree those numbers are not low enough.
And that’s why teams like the CRT exist, looking for people who create danger, hopefully, making the city a little safer with every arrest.
Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News