Mayor releases six-point plan for reducing violence in Birmingham
Birmingham's criminal homicide count is now up to 46 people since January 1, 2016.
Mayor William Bell is releasing a six-point plan to try to cut that number down. The plan builds on existing programs in Birmingham and works to create new collaborations and partnerships to reduce violence.
Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls says the city's homicide count is up 28 percent over this time last year and even one death is too much.
One of the 46 people killed was Coral Wilson, a 34-year-old mom who was shot in front of her children at her Druid Hills home in May.
“It ain’t been the same,” said her neighbor, A.J. McGhee. “The block been quiet. Normally we would see kids all the time running up and down the street.”
McGhee sees the need to address violence in Birmingham.
“What they're doing now isn't working,” said McGhee. “So, I pray the new plan works. It sounds like a good idea.”
Mayor Bell released his six-point plan at the Violence Reduction Initiative luncheon.
He's working on it with community leaders like U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance and Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls.
Last week, Bell named a new director of violence reduction, Dr. Jarralynne Agee.
“What is new today are the suggestions for taking it to the community and getting ideas from the community about how to solve this problem together,” Agee told ABC 33/40.
Agee says the city will build upon the violence reduction initiative known as the VRI, which just completed a one-year pilot program. It targets those at risk to be a victim or shooter and offers help.
“We talk to people most vulnerable, in need of help and can go in another direction,” explained Agee. “And we do that through custom notifications, which is visits to their homes. We talk to their mom. We pray with them.”
Dr. Agee says the plan will also look at black male achievement, black male engagement and community police relations.