Phenix City Police take action against gun violence, need commun - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Phenix City Police take action against gun violence, need community's help

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

The Phenix City Police Department is responding to safety concerns expressed by residents amid gun violence on the south side of town.

Police Chief Ray Smith said he knows there are drug sales in Phenix City as they are across the nation, but the biggest challenges in solving gun and illegal drug related crimes are getting the public to come forward with information that will lead to an arrest.

"We need the community to get involved and take back their neighborhoods. If they see crime, call us every single time. It doesn't matter that they are calling a lot," said Chief Smith.

Chief Smith also said patrol officers will be cracking down on multiple house parties going on at the same location under a city ordinance called, "Doing Business Without A License."

"We know people celebrate their birthdays one time but not every weekend-- this is where arguments get started," Chief Smith said. 

This past weekend, police were called to Meadowlane Park where a large gathering was being held inside the recreation center. While police were there, they heard gunshots which resulted in a 19-year-old getting shot in the parking lot of the Heap Cheap Convenience Store Sunday night.

Twenty minutes later, another person was shot.

"Some people involved in the shooting may have been at the park, but we are not certain of that," added Chief Smith.

Chief Smith also addressed concerns about people being afraid to report crime to police due to the old adage, "snitches get stitches."

"They can go to our website and Facebook pages or our smartphone app to submit tips anonymously," explained Chief Smith.

During 2016, Phenix City reported 55 shootings or shots fired incidents, and 19 of those incidents were reported from the south side of town where people told News Leader 9 they are living in fear because of the gun violence. The number of people shot in 2016 is eight.

During the same time period last year (Jan-March 16, 2015) the Phenix City Police Department responded to 94 reports of shots fired with 35 of these calls from South Phenix City.

So far this year, the Phenix City Police Department has investigated 9 shootings: three homicides and six Assaults involving a firearm.

This compares with no homicides and two assaults by firearm during the same time period in 2015.

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