Mayor, others discuss preventing violent crimes in Montgomery

Updated: Jun. 29, 2017 at 1:27 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - During a weekly briefing, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange discussed what the community can do to prevent violent crimes from happening in light of the recent shootings across the city.

"I wanted to put into perspective this whole crime issue that gets a lot of publicity," said Strange. "People care about what happens in their community,"

Before the briefing began, Strange made a statement saying that his comments did not reflect on any other of our sister cities, "We're all in this together," Strange said.

Although it seems like the River Region has seen an increase in homicides, Strange says if you look at the raw numbers from 2016, we're down 40 percent.

"We're less than in homicides," Strange said. "We're less than in assaults and robberies, and all of those scenarios. If you look at the year to date in Montgomery, Alabama, our overall crime is in fact down. However, that doesn't matter if it's in your neighborhood, of in your family, or your friend,"

Police Chief Ernest Finley says that the month of June has been a challenge and that these crimes are not random.

"The victimology, the victim, and the suspect, and the rest, they knew each other," Finley said.

Finely continued by saying that all of the cases in the past month had one thing in common.

"A handgun was used in all of the five homicides thus far," Finely said.

The city has been receiving calls regarding what they are going to do, as well as what the police department is doing, according to Strange.

Strange responded, "Where are the parents? Where is that neighbor who is now giving us information? If we might have had this information two days ago, five days ago, or a week ago, we might be in a better position,"

Strange wants to get guns off the streets and out of the hands of juveniles. Moving forward, he wants to hold parents legally responsible and accountable for their children's actions.

"Parents, if you've got a gun, get it in a place where a kid and someone that doesn't know how to use a gun cannot get to that gun," Strange said. "If we can do that, we can make a difference."

Strange continued by offering parents a fair warning, "We as the police, and the sheriff, and the district attorney will hold not only the person that is responsible but also the parents, to the extent that we can do that,"

One of the programs put in place to get guns off the streets is a gun buyback program that will take place on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church.

If you turn in a gun, you will receive $50 for a handgun and $100 for a long-barrel gun. All guns received at the gun buyback will be turned over to law enforcement.

If you can't make the gun buyback event, call 215-STOP and they will send someone out to pick up the gun.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.