BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Gun violence continues to plague the streets of Birmingham, and local law enforcement are calling the community to action.

Birmingham Police said our community has experienced an unnecessary amount of heartbreak with nine homicides in just over 10 days. Two of the victims were teenagers.

On the heels of a week filled with violence and death, the Birmingham Police Department is hosting another community walk through some of the city’s neighborhoods.

Chief Scott Thurmond said these walks help build strong relationships with the community.

He said those relationships help them in fighting crimes and solving problems for community members, calling it a win for both sides. But local pastor Frank Woodson proposes we must do more.

Pastor Woodson said our community has had fractured responses to the violence. He said we have to all get on the same team regardless of race, geography, religion, or political beliefs.

He also noted that the corporate, NGO, political, and faith communities along with grass root organizations have to join together for a commitment to make change.

“And the only reason on why things are getting continually worse is because we haven’t gotten tired enough to where we say our differences don’t make a difference,” said Pastor Woodson who also serves as Executive Director of Mission Alabama. “Let’s come together and deal with this as a whole community.” 

Chief Thurmond added that we must hold each other accountable and be responsible with our actions. He said the police simply can’t be everywhere all the time.

Because the violence is taking the lives of multiple youth, he specifically calls our city’s parents to action.

“You would think everyone wants the best for their children, clearly,” said Thurmond. “So, you have to make hard decisions so that they can have the best life possible. And, so being responsible for them, it’s hard. It’s tough. You have to tell them, ‘Hey you have to be home at a certain time. If you’re not home by a certain time, there are consequences.’ And you have to invoke those consequences and make sure they’re adhered to.”

Pastor Woodson said if we don’t do something more than what we’ve already done and we don’t set our differences aside it’s going to continue to get worse.

He said healthy families support children, but the parents need a source of strength first. And Pastor Woodson said non-profits taking action within our neighborhoods could help provide that.

“What’s going to stay behind?” said Pastor Woodson. “We’ve got to empower indigenous organizations- churches, community -based non-profits and whoever is out there- let’s strengthen them to hold the gains that we make as a community. That’s what we haven’t done.”

Pastor Woodson said we need to bring in additional dollars from the philanthropic community , and federal government, for those individuals.