The city of Mobile is experiencing an extraordinary number of shootings and homicides this year. As of Monday evening, the city recorded 32 homicides, 9 more than all of last year. Investigators are working 9 murders for the month of October.
Chief James Barber said when comparing Mobile to other municipalities, it is still a very safe city. He said most of the violence is not random. “The victims knew their assailants. They range from domestic violent homicides to acquaintances getting into arguments to the systemic violence we see surrounding the drug trade as well.”
Another disturbing trend is murders involving juveniles. This year alone, Mobile has eleven juvenile homicide victims compared to only one in the year 2000. The chief said kids have easy access to guns, a problem police cannot solve alone. The community has to be pro-active. “We’re finding a lot of the guns are being obtained by pulling on unlocked car doors and because we live in a gun culture in the south you don’t have to go through very many cars before you’ll find a handgun.”
Chief Barber says parents need to keep up with what their children are doing by checking to see “What’s in their kids bookbag, what’s in their rooms? And what they’re putting on social media because you don’t have to go very far on facebook before you see the brandishing of these guns very proudly, apparently wtihout the fear of consequences of possessing.”
On Wednesday, Chief Barber plans to meet with Mobile United, 100 Black Men, The Mobile County School System, and The Drug Education Council. They’ll talk about the rise in violence especially among young people and their easy access to guns.