Community uses higher power to help control crime

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper and residents are crediting the power of prayer with helping to reduce crime the city.

Chief Roper and Prayer Force United have been hosting monthly prayer walks in communities with crime problems. The events bring together police, religious leaders, and residents.

"The prayer walks have been a great tool for involving the faith community in public safety," said Roper. "It's important for everyone to know that most of our challenges cannot be solved by the police alone, so we're counting on other community stakeholders to help carry the load."

The city started the program in 2009, and since then, total crime as well as rapes, robberies and murders have decreased.

The latest prayer walk brought more than 300 people to the Collegeville community. Residents say it sent a strong message. "We're tired of it.  We want this stuff to cease," said Collegeville resident Sandra Jackson, "We want to live here and sit on the porch and not run from gunfire or anything like that."

Jackson and other residents acknowledge their neighborhood has been plagued with shootings and drugs for years, but they said things are improving, and they hope that continues. "Prayer is important because prayer changes things," said Collegeville resident Jeneva Jelks. "God hears prayer. If you pray and you are sincere, He answers all prayers."

Prayer Force United's next prayer walk will take place Nov. 20 in the Inglenook community.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.