Former federal agent gives us a glimpse into his experience battling gang activity

Numerous gangs could be behind weekend violence
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 7:18 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Mayor Woodfin says gangs could be behind the latest surge in violence over the weekend. He is asking the community to step up and if you know anyone involved to connect with them and urge peace.

But how present are gangs in Birmingham?

Former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and current Calera Police Chief David Hyche says many of these street gangs have changed names over the years but they are selling drugs and firearms.

He says weed is a pillar of their business because there is a lot of money to be made selling it and police tend to focus on the harder drugs.

Back in Chief Hyche’s time with the ATF he says there were a lot fewer gangs, but that has shifted in the last decade.

Gangs have become quote “more fluid” and because of that, he has no idea how many gangs could be active right now in Central Alabama and that lack of structure may be behind the recent rash of shootings.

“They are about making money but the shootings are over ridiculously silly matters for the most part. It could be you disrespected me on social media, you bumped into my friend at the club, you said something to my girlfriend and they are killing each other over it. It is hard to stop something like that. You really can’t,” said Hyche.

Hyche believes criminal justice reform will be necessary to truly limit gang activity. In his eyes, the people pulling the triggers must be held responsible if we want this situation to improve.

“I don’t think it is an ebb or flow I think it is a national epidemic for a lack of concern for humanity,” said Chief Hyche.

He does believe Birmingham is headed in the right direction. He said Chief Thurmond will go a long way towards correcting the issue. He also things Mayor Woodfin did the right thing by admitting there is a problem.

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