Community activists react to Birmingham crime news conference

Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 10:42 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham activists say the city is not getting to the root of the problem when it comes to violence. This comes after Mayor Randall Woodfin and Chief Patrick Smith held a press conference Wednesday addressing crime and the rising homicide rate.

Activists tell us they continue to hear the same thing from city hall and police when it comes to dealing with violence in the city.

Woodfin and Smith both said one of the biggest problems is witnesses not coming forward with information they have on crimes. But Faith in Action’s Onoyemi Williams believes it’s deeper than that. She says people especially in the African American community say the no-snitch culture is similar to the no-trust culture when it comes to dealing with the police.

Williams says BPD needs to do a better job of investing in people and investing in programs that help the community build the trust back with police.

“It means having some serious conversations, investment in programming, street outreach workers, wrap around services. A continuum of care for the people of the community so that when they are in situations that aren’t necessarily the best, that they have help resources to reach out to,” Williams said.

Williams says her group has submitted plans to the city for a street outreach program and other initiatives, but she says it keeps falling on deaf ears. Williams tells us none of the programs will work without community involvement and that includes police.

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