BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The city of Birmingham continues to deal with rising homicide numbers. The city is close to the same number this year as last year.
Earlier this year, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin launched an initiative to help reduce violent crime. Peace in the Park is a part of the mayor’s plan. The first event will be at Legion Field on Friday, June 14 and happen Friday nights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through August 9.
Marvin Steel is a grandfather who lives in Elyton Village across the street from Legion Field. He understands the need to keep kids safe. “Yes, trouble is easy to get into. I think it’s a wonderful idea. It will be a wonderful thing, especially for my grandchildren,” Marvin Steele said.
Peace in the Park is an effort to give young people and others in the community an activity to promote non-violence during times which have traditionally been high crime hours.
“If you want a peaceful city, we have to practice being peaceful and we want to provide that space for the residents of Birmingham. We want our neighborhood association and churches to carry that over into the community,” Brandon Johnson, Mayor Woodfin’s Director of Peace and Policy said.
The city will provide different activities each week. There will be movies, a water splash pool, CPR classes, and even a car show. It will be free to get in and inexpensive food will be available inside.
The hope is these events will help build relationships between police and the community. “It’s crucial. I think residents can’t only engage police officers during times of crisis. You have to build relationships with our officers,” Johnson said.
“They need to have a positive impact in our neighborhood,” Steele said.