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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

How To Curb Violent Crime In Birmingham, Alabama

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on December 23, 2022

Another homicide occurred in Birmingham on Thursday night. This killing makes the 142nd homicide in 2022. The adult male victim died from a gunshot wound. The homicide occurred within 18 hours of another homicide early Thursday morning.

It's time to get serious about gun violence in Birmingham. City residents are not safe inside or outside of their homes. The city has transformed itself into a "killing field."

Here are the Practical Steps that are Needed to Curb Gun Violence in the City

Mayor Randall Woodfin and the members of Birmingham, Alabama's city council can drastically reduce the skyrocketing homicides in the city by aggressively implementing the crime-fighting measures set forth below.

1. Declare war on violent crimes within the city, and mean it. Put the city’s money on the front-line of the fight against violent crime.

2. Hire the amount of new police officers needed to staff the police department with 900 sworn officers. The city's police chief has publicly stated that 900 is the number of sworn officers he needs.

3. Pay a one-time signing bonuses of $10,000 to each new officer hired and a one-time retention bonus of $10,000 to each existing officer on the force. The officers must agree to remain on the force for a minimum of three years after accepting their signing and/or retention bonuses.

4. Pay a $2,000 per month housing stipend to any police officer who is willing to relocate to the top ten most violent crime areas in the city and live in those communities/neigborhoods for a minimum period of three years.

5. Saturate high crime areas with sophisticated surveillance cameras that are actively monitored by a dedicated force of not less than 36 police department employees (i.e., 12 employees per 8-hour shift, 365 days per year). The police department’s deployment and increased use of visual information technology systems will give it a strategic advantage over street criminals.

6. Ramp up and expand the use of random street checkpoints throughout the highest violent crime areas in the city. This law enforcement tool is particularly effective between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., seven days per week.

7. Expand and enhance the use of the police department’s vast network of paid informants. Offer a cash reward of $10,000 for information leading to the prevention of a planned shootout, drive-by shooting, or gang-sanctioned “hit.” Likewise, a reward of $10,000 should be offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person who committed an unlawful homicide within the city limits of Birmingham in cases where the suspect is not already known. Reward money is the most effective tool in the crime fighting arsenal because there is no loyalty within the ranks of drug dealers and gang members. Any one of them will sellout a relative, fellow drug dealer, or gang member for money.

8. Coordinate with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office to vigorously oppose bail bonds in all unlawful homicide cases where a firearm, physical force, arson, or a cutting device was used to kill the homicide victim. State court judges who facilitate the easy release of violent criminals must be targeted by local political organizations for defeat in the next election cycle.

9. Use overwhelming force when arresting drug kingpins and gang leaders. These arrests should be recorded on video, when possible, and made available to news organizations in real-time. This technique will embarrass and humiliate drug kingpins and gang leaders in front of their peers and underlings.

10. Demand that all paid and unpaid police informants spread the word within their respective criminal networks and/or communities that the police department is implementing a new program that is specifically designed to crush drug kingpins and gang leaders and quash their violent street crimes.

What's Lacking in City Hall Today is the Will to Retake the Streets from the Thugs Who Control Them

Mayor Woodfin commands a police force of 700+ sworn law enforcement officers. It is obvious, however, that Woodfin has no practical experience in fighting crimes of violence.

Gang leaders, drug kingpins, and other street criminals in Birmingham perceive Mayor Woodfin as weak and rudderless. To them, Woodfin is not willing to put in the work that is necessary to defeat them.

These hardened criminals have taken control of the streets of Birmingham and they are killing innocent victims at will. Homicide victims in the city are now dying every 18 hours.

The law enforcement tools needed to retake the streets of Birmingham already exist within the world of professional law enforcement.

For reasons I do not understand, Mayor Woodfin and the city council members have been too busy entertaining “sugar-daddy” proposals for bailout money from Birmingham Southern College and other over-the-mountain hustlers to focus on the surge in violent homicides in the city. The mayor and council need to refocus their time, energy, and resources on combatting violent crime in the city. They should encourage these dressed-up and polished "panhandlers" to look elsewhere for money for their pet projects.

Nothing short of these practical and effective law enforcement measures will curb the surging violent crimes in Birmingham.

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