BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Roads are closed and new concrete barriers are in place in Marks Village.
City leaders say the crime level in the Gate City community has reached epidemic proportions. So, they've come up with a multi-faceted plan to cut crime.
Marks Village, a public housing community, previously had 19 entry/exit points. As of Monday, there are seven entry/exit points. The Birmingham Housing Authority hoping the permanent roadblocks can cut crime in that community.
Clifton Preslon has lived in Marks Village for a year. He says crime is a problem.
“I think it’s mostly people that are not from the area. A lot of people come out here to hang around and do God knows what with their idle time. And we all know idle time is the devils time,” says Preslon.
60 traffic barriers will be installed over the course of four to five days, according to Housing Authority of the Birmingham District CEO, Michael Lundy.
"It will change the quality of life for residents here in Marks Village," Lundy says. Limiting entry/exit points in the community will give police a better chance of catching criminals, according to Lundy.
The roadblocks are one component in a multi-faceted plan to decrease criminal activity in Marks Village and other public housing communities in Jefferson County.
According to Lundy, The HABD plans to install more surveillance cameras to support already activated Shotspotter technology, which detects gunfire, pinpointing its location. Preslon has mixed feelings about the plan.
"Shotspotter, yes, because they detect crime-- shots. But, cameras, I feel like that's an invasion of privacy," said Preslon. “I feel like the roadblocks are a good thing. It's not like they are gates. Like they are putting us in a cage. They are just blocking some exits."
Another neighbor, Cory Snow, says he will sleep easier once all the barriers are in place.
“I feel safer,” says Snow.
Snow has lived at Marks Village for six months. He says violent crimes are an everyday issue.
“It gets to a point where you think, ‘what do we need to do?’ and they found it [roadblocks]. They found a good solution,” says Snow.
HABD says they plan to have a community-event to beautify the locations of the road closure locations.