Mobile crime in national spotlight

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Safest city by 2020 is a goal that came and went. Now, not only is Mobile not the safest city, but its struggle to get crime under control is in the national spotlight.

A New York Times report digs into last year’s mass shooting at Ladd. It highlights the issue of youth violence at schools after hours. That shooting, and the countless others we’ve covered, show the city is far from reaching its goal, but that’s not stopping the mayor from trying.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said, “We intentionally put that 2020 on it to put pressure on the Mayor and on the City Council, and the police department to do a better job.”

The mayor’s optimism comes as the city is investigating its first homicide of the year.

Mobile Police were called to Hercules Street around 7:30 on Monday night. When officers got there, they found a 55-year-old man, identified by police as Willie Marshal, with a gunshot wound. Marshal was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The violence in Mobile is not just a topic of conversation here, but also on the national stage. The New York Times posting an in-depth piece on last year’s mass shooting at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The article focuses on one of the victims who News 5 also spoke to, Jarvis Murphy.

When we spoke to Murphy he said, “They started shooting. The first bullet hit the side of my shoe, my left shoe. The second bullet hit my leg, my left leg, and a third one hit straight into my right leg.”

It goes on to talk about shootings at after school events across the country, and talks about the lack of an emergency plan outside of school hours.

But after the shooting at Ladd, Mobile did add metal detectors for football and basketball games. A step in the right direction.

Mayor Stimpson said, “I think that we’ve done a much better job at policing, but as a community we have got to do some things differently, but it’s teed up to change.”

We’ve spoken with police and Mayor Stimpson, and both are in agreement saying if there was not a goal, Mobile would not be making progress. When we spoke with police on December 30, Chief Battiste said violent crime overall is down 12.2-percent from last year.

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