Fighting crime, one neighbor at a time.
That was the goal today at a crime prevention workshop sponsored by the birmingham Police Department.
Birmingham's crime rate is down double digits in some major categories, and police chief A.C. Roper credits that in part to a renewed focus on community-based policing.
Senior citizens like Senolia McCamble may be retired, but her senses and her need to feel safe certainly isn't.
"I'm 71 years old and I'm always looking for ways to protect myself and my home," McCambele said. "I live by myself, and I'm concerned about my other neighbors in my neighborhood, I watch out for them also."
"You know what's right and what's wrong in your community," said Birmingham Police Captain David Robinson. "You know who the outsiders are, you know who your neighbor is. You can be our eyes and ears not engage these people that's coming in, but you can call us and let us do the engaging."
Far from rolling their eyes at calls from worried neighbors, Birmingham police are encouraging, even asking for more community involvement as part of their strategy to continue bringing down the city's crime rate.
"What we wanna do is have the citizens on 1 side, have the police on this side, and you put the bad guy in the middle, then we close in on them," Robinson said. "What does it do? Drive them out."
Saturday's crime prevention workshop is part of that team effort with police giving tips on how to keep your home safe, even giving preventive tips like keeping your jewelry in a bag inside your freezer as a way of hiding it and protecting it from fire. These neighbors say they learned a lot they can take back home.
"Make sure you know your neighbors," said Margaret Wilbanks, a workshop participant. "That can help you save them and yourself. And be sure to keep your doors closed and not let anyone in."
"I know of neighbors that don't have right security doors, and they don't have a peephole, they don't have burglar alarms," McCamble said. "So I've got a lot of information on paper that I can carry back to them."
Capt. Robinson said the department's motto right now is to "keep chopping wood."