Huntsville Police discuss efforts to keep community safe

WAAY 31 learned the city is working on obtaining funds for new technology to help fight crime.

Posted: Jun. 22, 2018 5:56 PM

After a string of violent crime in north Huntsville, WAAY 31 wanted to know what's being done to keep you safe.

On Tuesday, three people were murdered in a home in north Huntsville. Later that evening, four people were shot about five miles away from where the murders happened.

Huntsville Police shared with WAAY 31 that 13 homicides have happened in 2018. Nine of those homicides were in north Huntsville.

Captain Jeffery Rice Sr. who's in charge of the North Police Precinct sat down with WAAY 31 to talk about the department's efforts to keep people safe.

"We actually hear gunshots on the daily around here, but I don't think they actually know about them because it's not being talked about or it's not being reported," said Alesia Wallace who lives in north Huntsville.

Rice told us that's actually not true. He pointed to crime statistics from the first three months of this year and compared them to the last three months of 2017.

Breaking and entering into vehicles is down 19%, burglaries decreased 13%, and robberies decreased by 54%.

Rice told us he thinks he knows what's helping get those numbers down.

"The reason these numbers have decreased is because we have had great community response," he said.

Rice told me the Huntsville Police is working on being more proactive throughout the city.

Part of that started last month when the department shifted officers to work ten hour shifts four days a week instead of eight hour shifts five days a week.

"It gives them more times to work in their zones and to get to know the people who live in the neighborhood they're serving. The ten hour shift has been very positive and a very proactive part of providing resources in our community," Rice explained.

Wallace called it a good start, but she wants to see more done.

"We hear so much stuff around here I think its necessary to have detection, or monitors or cameras to make it faster to come out here before things like what happened tuesday night. It could prevent that stuff from ever happening again."

Rice said plans for some of those ideas are already in motion. He explained the department is working on securing funds for a multi-agency crime center somewhere in the city.

Rice told WAAY 31 money for new technology would include installing devices in higher crime neighborhoods. Those devices could detect gunshots along with adding surveillance cameras.

Wallace told us although there is crime in the area, she plans on staying in north Huntsville.

"I feel like with the population we have they're doing their best," she said.

"North Huntsville is a very beautiful community. It is a very diverse and vibrant and safe community. I would encourage people to move into north Huntsville. It is not a negative part of the City of Huntsville. It's a very loving part of this city. It's a great community," Rice said.

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