Community advocate: “More money needs to go towards preventing crimes, not reacting to them”

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new Birmingham “No Snitch Culture” initiative in response to crimes against children drew praise and criticism from some who called for more to be done to prevent gun violence.

Eric Wynn, the founder of the non-profit W.A.R, was not convinced about the initiative decreasing crime.

“That’s not going to reduce violence. It’s not. I wish it would,” Eric Wynn said.

W.A.R is an acronym for We’re All Related, according to Wynn who said the organization focuses on preventing crime by connecting with youth.

“When you change the mindset of the youth, what you’re taking is a proactive stance in reducing violence. If we wait until these kids developed the criminal mindset, the gangster mindset, then essentially, it’s too late,” Wynn explained.

Wynn’s ideology on reducing crime is different from that of the new Birmingham program aimed at ending the “No Snitch Culture”.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, local pastors, Crimestoppers, the ATF, and the housing authority have all raised $125,000 to increase rewards to $25,000 for specific cases involving children.

The city hoped the money would encourage neighbors to come forward with information.

Wynn said he does support Woodfin’s efforts.

“I support Randall and I see where he’s going trying to get the community involved,” he said.

But Wynn believed more should be done on the front-end.

“The way we have to address violence is reaching them before they commit violence. We can [give] $125,000 to the person who already commits [a crime]. Or, we can put $125,000, or more, into changing the mindset of our communities by changing the culture in the communities where these kids are growing up, where they are being taught violence, where they are being conditioned to kill,” Wynn explained.

Wynn who spent a decade in prison said he understood the mindset of youth with little direction. He believed violent themes in music, poverty, and lack of conflict resolution skills were the driving forces behind gun violence.

Other organizations like the Peacemakers Coalition of Pastors are also asking for money for crime prevention methods.

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