Huntsville Mayor discusses public safety efforts as city grows

Mayor Tommy Battle said Huntsville Police is tasked with covering 215 square miles of our city.

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 5:52 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 6:47 PM

The economy and growth were the focus of Mayor Tommy Battle's "State of the City" address. WAAY 31 wanted to know about his plan to improve public safety after a high number of murders in 2018.

Mayor Tommy Battle said Huntsville Police is tasked with covering 215 square miles of our city. He said growing the police force and getting more technology are two key things that will keep residents safe.

"We have to stay ahead of crime rather than just react to crime," said Mayor Battle.

He said that's what the Huntsville Police Department is working to do. In 2018, new technology was added to the city including gunshot detectors and surveillance cameras. The technology comes as Huntsville has had 26 homicides going into the last month of the year. That's more than the city had in each of the last two years.

"In the past six months I have had two friends that have been murdered and it's really heartbreaking," said Nathan Gordon who lives in Huntsville.

Gordon said he's noticed the spike of crime in recent years, and thinks the growth in Huntsville can lead to more problems for the city.

"Violence, drug use, car accidents. The world is just getting a lot more dangerous," Gordon added.

Mayor Battle said even though Huntsville is projected to become the biggest city in the state that's not his priority.

"I'm not as interested in being the biggest city but the best city," he said.

Battle said when it comes to safety it means expanding community watch programs and adding patrol officers.

"As we have more people in here, we have to add to our police force and right now recruiting to our police force is a big thing," he said.

Gordon said he think's it's going to take the entire city working together to help stop crime.

"I feel like everyone could do a lot more to make sure neighborhoods were safer," he said.

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