Birmingham homicides hit decades high

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (WIAT) – The city of Birmingham is seeking relief from gun violence after experiencing a record number of homicides this year. Local law enforcement say the numbers they have seen are extremely alarming.

Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond said we have seen more than 144 total homicides this year – 134 criminal and 10 justifiable. He says the gun violence challenge won’t continue until the new year, as the state recently passed a license-free carry, which is of concern to many.

“You don’t know who’s going to have a gun and so it’s very alarming to have the number of homicides we have in this town,” said Birmingham City Councilor LaTonya Tate.

Councilor Tate says gun violence is a public health epidemic and its prevention lies in community investment and strategy.

“It’s a strategy with the community, nonprofits, all entities, corporate America, clergy β€” everyone has to play their part,” Councilman Tate said.

Chief Thurmond says the future of our society is dying at an alarming rate and it is very difficult for police to prevent crimes when many are relationship-based. Looking to 2023, he says parents and community members need to step up.

“You know we have things planned with the mayor’s office with, you know, intervention, conflict resolution and other things that are happening in schools and in communities to hopefully bring down those numbers,” Chief Thurmond said.

He also says that no argument or fight is worth losing a life.

β€œThink twice about it,” Chief Thurmond said. β€œDo you really have to end an argument or a situation like that with gun violence? Is it worth someone’s life? Is it worth going to jail? And I don’t think that’s the case.

Chief Thurmond says they plan to help reduce crime in 2023 by advancing technology through police on-board camera systems, more public camera systems, extended shifts and the increase in the number of officers.

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