In 2023, 2,164 Gunshots Were Fired In An 80% Black Birmingham, AL Neighborhood—Which Has Only 2, 794 Residents...
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Birmingham, Alabama is a roughly 70 percent black city. Once the crown jewel of the state of Alabama, white flight from the city post–Civil Rights saw white people rebuild the city Over The Mountain (OTM) in Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, and Spain Park. What’s left behind?

Well, in East Lake, an 80 percent black neighborhood in Birmingham, there are an average of six shootings per day or 2,164 gunshots fired in just one year.

2,164 gunshots were fired in one Birmingham neighborhood in one year: ‘Unacceptable,’ Woodfin says,, July 9, 2024
Shotspotter detected 2,164 shots fired during 2023 in the East Lake neighborhood, Mayor Randall Woodfin told the Birmingham City Council on Tuesday.

“That’s unacceptable,” Woodfin said.

“The most glaring (problem) in this neighborhood is shooting into occupied dwellings, where people have over 40 ways to easily drive into this historic neighborhood, shoot at a house, and drive out. By the time we respond, the person is long gone. But we know they’re shooting because of our Shotspotter.”

That 2,164 shots detected is an average of about six shots fired per day. Many of those are shots fired into houses or cars by shooters driving through the neighborhood, Woodfin said.

That’s just in the East Lake neighborhood, not the entire East Lake community that includes South East Lake, North East Lake and Wahouma, Woodfin said.

It’s part of a litany of crime issues in East Lake that have been out of control, he said.

Woodfin said the city has been cracking down on illegal dumping on Division Avenue, prostitution on First Avenue North, drug dealing and speeding on Second Avenue North.

Woodfin recently announced the Safe Streets Initiative, a pilot plan to shut down street access to limit drivers coming into the East Lake neighborhood to shoot at houses and cars.

“We will continue our aggressive policing,” Woodfin said. “We’ll continue to focus on gun violence citywide.”

But the focus on East Lake is a step in the direction of reducing crime overall, he said.

“I believe we can decrease gun violence in this neighborhood,” Woodfin said.

City Council member J.T. Moore, whose district includes East Lake, said that abandoned properties in the neighborhood contribute to crime. He said the city needs to encourage people to move back into the neighborhood.

“We’ve lost the neighbors out of our neighborhood, so we’re just left with the ‘hood,” Moore said.

Division Avenue alleys are among the worst for illegal dumping, Woodfin said.

“In April, we saw illegal dumping,” he said. “We would clean it up. It would be back on the ground within 72 hours. In May, we’d clean it up again. Pick it up, it’s back on the ground. June, back on the ground. Clean it up, it’s back. Just yesterday, seven trucks were hauled off, of illegal dumping. That’s just on Division.”

Prostitution also is rampant in East Lake, he said.

“You see day-walkers, streetwalkers, prostitution, pretty unapologetic about it, unabashed about it, broad daylight,” Woodfin said. “We’ve had stings. We’ve had undercovers. We’ve arrested johns. We’ve arrested prostitutes, and the activity continues.”

“With your own eyes, you can see the dope houses, you see the trap houses,” Woodfin said. “People walk up, people drive up certain streets, certain houses.”

Enforcement efforts continue on that front as well, he said. “There’s a full operation going on there,” he said.

The population of East Lake is 2,794 people… and 2,164 shots fired in 2023.

There’s a reason an 80 percent black neighborhood is dubbed “the hood.”

This story represents why this occurs, and why white people left Birmingham to create a new city OTM.

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