Report: Homicide 5th leading cause for premature death in Jefferson County

County health rankings released

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It’s an alarming statistic. Homicide is the fifth leading cause for premature death in Jefferson County.

“I’m a crime victim myself. I’m from Birmingham and in 1983 I was kidnapped," said Wanda Miller.

What Miller suffered, most cannot even imagine. She did survive her ordeal, but many do not.

“It saddens me to know that Birmingham has that statistic. Because we do deal with those families,” said Miller.

She is now the victim services coordinator for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

The statistic mentioned comes from the latest data released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

People killing other people sits only behind things like cancer, heart disease, accidents, and stroke.

“Gun violence in the city of Birmingham is a public health crisis,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.

The mayor made that declaration as he announced his crime reduction plan in late February.

“I will say this, I think we can do much better as a community but it’s going to take a lot of work,” said Sgt. John Pennington, Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama.

In order for real change to happen, to help cure the crisis, Pennington believes work will have to be done on several fronts.

“It’s a call to action I think. For everybody that lives here, for everybody that works here. And events like this help promote unity,” said Sgt. Pennington.

The event Pennington is speaking of is “One Heart in the Park,” an opportunity for the community to stand in solidarity with crime victims and victims’ families.

There will also be an opportunity for victims to learn more about services available to them.

Additionally, attendees are encouraged to bring photographs of their loved ones who were victims of a crime, or create a personal statement about their own victimization.

Event Details:

One Heart in the Park

Sunday, April 7, 2019

2:00-4:00 p.m.

UAB Green, 1501 University Blvd, Birmingham, Alabama

Cost: Free

Ages: Open to Everyone

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