The Tuscaloosa County's Violent Crimes Unit has already investigated five homicides in 2023. That reality has Mayor Walt Maddox concerned, considering the majority of those happened within the city. Typically, Tuscaloosa only has around 20 homicides a year. Now, he is looking at ways to work with university leaders and state lawmakers to make the city safer.
Maddox told Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa's 95.3 The Bear's "Steve & DC Show" that he was hopeful in 2022 when violent crimes decreased but that the new reality is "soul-crushing."
"So many times in these cases, it is absolutely unbelievable what provokes people to pull out a firearm or semi-automatic weapon and take someone else's life," Maddox said. "It's senseless, it's reckless and inhumane."
Maddox said there is only so much that government can do but that he is pleased the Tuscaloosa Police Department has a large presence. He added that is why homicides are typically solved quickly. However, there is more he wants to do to curb crime. He plans to join forces with the University of Alabama and work with local business owners.
"You certainly want to keep that area safe," he said. "We have been having productive discussions with the University. We already have a very large police presence out there."
The Tuscaloosa City Council has discussed ways to ensure restaurants that seem to turn into bars at night are held accountable. He said some businesses holding restaurant licenses allow large crowds to gather at night for alcohol consumption. He hopes to work with lawmakers to come up with a solution.
"You have a lot of places in Tuscaloosa, not just The Strip, that masquerade as a restaurant, but they're really a bar and are protected by the state," Maddox added. "We're not tolerating this, we never tolerated it, but certainly, this has become hyper-sensitive, and we're going to be looking at a broad range of action."
The Tuscaloosa Thread keeps a running list of all reported homicides in Tuscaloosa County.
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