Birmingham PD looks to add 80 officers to combat crime

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Local law enforcement has come under fire recently for their response to crime happening in the communities.

A solution to beating crime may never be clear cut, but with a department understaffed, Chief A.C. Roper said the solution may be to simply add more men and women in blue.

“Well, they were out there trying to sell me drugs, they actually tried to sell it to me, it scared me half to death, I wanted to take a picture of them, but I was too scared to lift my phone,” said City Councilor Sheila Tyson.

This is just one story of many the city council shared about their personal experience with crime and that of the people in their districts.

“There have been three robberies within three blocks of my house, as you know a robbery is with a weapon,” said City Councilor Valerie Abbott.

“What the community wants to know, is why are there so many homicides, it seems like the police can’t get there on time,” said Titusville resident Cedric Hatcher.

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper spoke before council Tuesday to address the concerns and his solution is to add more man power.

“Our goal is to add about 80 more officers, and if we can get that done we can be at full strength,” said Chief Roper.

The chief also extended an invite to council, to come and join the department to see how they do their job, but for councilman Steven Hoyt, he wants crime reports to be distributed to neighborhoods, just like old times.

“We just need to go back to old landmark in terms of how we police our communities, the chief is doing an excellent job, but some things I believe you just have best practices” said councilman Hoyt.

“As a community, as citizens we have to do better too, we can’t blame everything on the police, because the police can’t change a man’s heart,” said Hatcher.

Many city councilors have called on their residents to be the eyes and ears of their communities as well, all of the districts have block captains who walk the neighbor and report crime.

Copyright 2016 WIAT CBS 42

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