Law enforcement officials are searching for answers on the heels of the fatal shooting in downtown Mobile on New Year's Eve that resulted in one dead and nine injured.

Local officials said they believed the incident to be "gang-related."

With an uptick in gang activity in both Mobile and Birmingham, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall proposes a statute similar to the federal government's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which enacted stiffer criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for crimes associated with organized crime.

During an appearance Tuesday on Mobile radio's FM Talk 106.5, Marshall said such a statute at the state level would give law enforcement another tool to crack down on gang activity.

"We've heard it clearly from law enforcement both in Birmingham and Mobile of what they're dealing with," he said. "It's why the legislature needs to give us the opportunity to expand the toolkit for law enforcement and prosecutors, and that's let's get a RICO statute in Alabama. It would give us the ability to investigate these groups in a big-picture way, whatever they're doing, be it property crime, be it violent crime. And it is a chance for us to take out larger numbers of those who are causing these problems."

"You know, we have pushed for that in the past, and, in fact, we examined our legislative agenda for this upcoming year," Marshall continued. "One of the things I'm going to talk an awful lot about is giving us opportunities for law enforcement to create a bigger deterrent effect in our communities, in particular larger cities. I think a RICO statute would be giving us an opportunity to do things we haven't been able to do in the past."

Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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