BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – After a violent Labor Day Weekend, lawmakers and community activists say the root cause behind these violent crimes goes much further than legislation. They say it’s about how kids are raised and a lack of police officers.
Rep. Allen Treadaway used to work at the Birmingham Police Department as a former assistant chief. He said in the ’50s there were over 200 more officers on the ground than there are today. He said the trend of violent crime is an alarming issue for lawmakers nationally.
Treadaway said he has been working directly with Birmingham leaders on a bi-partisan supported bill that has been pre-filed to help.
“We’re hoping that by updating some of these laws and addressing some of these issues we can make the city safer,” Treadaway said. “This is one of those bills that I think we are going to come together on and say it’s much needed to save lives.”
Activist Eric Wynn said kids need to be properly conditioned at an early age. He listed nine victims in Gate City since November.
“It’s not gangs, it’s not legislation, it’s young people for the most people that are conditioned to think gun violence is cool, gun violence is how you resolve conflict,” Wynn said. “The solution is reaching the youth that haven’t developed that mindset yet.”
Wynn said children are conditioned by music and misguided home lives. He said he is working to change that through his nonprofit and movement called W.A.R. – or We Are Related.
“As it relates to violence, we’ve all failed,” Wynn said. “It’s something that we know it takes everybody, but it takes us working together.”
Treadaway said the bigger problem is a critical shortage in law enforcement nationwide impacting Birmingham at an alarming rate.
“I unfortunately think until we correct that part, we’re going to see the violent crime numbers go up before they come back down,” Treadaway said.
Wynn said this is not so much a gang issue as much as it is domestic. He said the last four people to be killed in Gate City were all friends. Wynn said it’s important to influence kids at ages 6 or 7 now so that in the next 6 or 7 years we can see a change in the numbers, and he is calling on the city for funding to help.