Tag: Crime

Birmingham Council Looks to Reduce Crime With Statistical Analysis

The Birmingham City Council has approved a partnership with the nonprofit Aspen Institute to gather and analyze a wide variety of data about the city’s 99 neighborhoods.

The project, named the Birmingham/Aspen Justice and Governance Partnership, is intended to reduce crime by gathering and analyzing hyperlocal statistics — for example, the number of traffic stops or emergency room admissions in a given neighborhood. This information would be made publicly available and could be used by lawmakers to inform policy. Read more.

Birmingham Applies for Grants to Beef Up Surveillance, Readies to Open Real-Time Crime Center

The city of Birmingham will apply for state and federal grants to purchase new license plate readers and high-definition surveillance cameras, the City Council decided Tuesday.

It also increased its contract for computer-aided dispatch maintenance services. The city plans to launch its “real-time crime center” later this month to combat the city’s rising rate of violent crime. Read more.

City Council Approves Bid for Birmingham Real-Time Crime Center

The Birmingham City Council has approved a $940,030 construction bid for the city’s long-planned real-time crime center, though the identity of the bidder remains confidential.

The development of a real-time crime center was first announced by Birmingham Police Chief Patrick D. Smith in 2019 as a technological hub that would give police “a very clear picture of what’s going on throughout the city.” He said information could be transmitted directly to on-beat officers “so they know exactly what they’re looking for and who they’re looking for.”

The crime center will employ policing technology such as ShotSpotter and PredPol, as well as recently approved Motorola surveillance software that drew controversy last year for its facial recognition capabilities. Mayor Randall Woodfin has maintained that the BPD cannot use those capabilities without approval from the City Council.
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Birmingham Pastor Calls for a State of Emergency Over Murder Rate

Birmingham ended in 2020 with 122 killings – up by 13%. Of that total, 105 killings were ruled justifiable, mirroring a trend of increase in many American cities.

The city began 2021 with three killings in three days – one per day.

Rev. Paul Hollman of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham launched a billboard campaign last year to raise awareness after a member of his church was shot to death. This week he called for Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin to declare a state of emergency. Hollman spoke with WBHM’s Andrew Yeager.
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Birmingham Police Need the Public’s Help in Solving Homicides, Woodfin Says

Mayor Randall Woodfin pleaded with Birmingham residents on Wednesday to help police in homicide investigations, saying police have “hit a wall that’s hard to crack” in many cases: uncooperative witnesses.

There have been 120 homicides in Birmingham this year, 15 of which have been ruled justifiable. Sixty-two of the remaining 105 homicides remain unsolved. That low clearance rate, Woodfin said, “is not because our detectives are not doing their job.”

“Trust me, they are,” he said during a news conference with Police Chief Patrick Smith. “But we don’t have more solved cases in part because there are some people who know who are behind these killings, but they won’t say anything.”
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Birmingham Officials Reject Defunding, Plan Police Reforms with Civilian Oversight, Social Workers and Attacking Crime from a Public Health Perspective

After several months of study and citizen input, the City of Birmingham announced Thursday that police reforms are underway — some of which will go to effect shortly, others that will take years — with the end goal of making law enforcement more transparent and responsive to the needs of the citizens.

Highlighting a more than 100-page final report called “Reform and Reimagine Birmingham Public Safety,” city officials outlined steps to improve relations between the police and the public, improve training for police, make rules and regulations public, and ultimately increase accountability.

The city’s Public Safety Task Force included a former U.S. attorney, a retired detective, an anti-police-brutality advocate, an attorney and the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Birmingham.

But Mayor Randall Woodfin said the city will need the assistance of healthcare providers and citizens to make the reforms work over the long term. And he rejected calls to defund the police, saying that the most common request he hears from citizens is to beef up the department and put more officers on the job. 
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