BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Mayor Bell had two subjects that he wanted to address at a called-press conference on Wednesday afternoon: the recent threats made at Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center and a general rise in violent crime in the metro area.
On Monday, the Levite Jewish Community Center had its second bomb threat in the past five weeks. It’s something that’s happening all over the nation, almost simultaneously.
“Birmingham is a city that does not tolerate hate of any kind against any religion or any race or individual–at all,” said Bell. “We want to assure the Jewish community and the community around this facility that our police department and the city of Birmingham will do all that it can do to quell such incidents and protect all of our citizens.”
Bell said they are working with the ATF to build cases against any possible suspects behind the threats. He said they are also putting more patrols in the area, instructed to pay special attention to anyone behaving suspiciously. “[We’re] looking at telephone calls, telephone records to try to backtrack–to see who made those calls and address them,” Bell said.
According to Bell, the police department will collaborate with the JCC to determine the best course of action. He said the city is asking police and other agencies to use whatever resources they deem necessary to address the issue.
Betzy Lynch, Executive Director of the Levite Jewish Community Center, released the following statement in response to the mayor’s press conference,
On behalf of the Jewish Community Center, I want to thank Mayor Bell and the City of Birmingham for the continued efforts to rid our community from hate. Our partnership with the Birmingham Police Department and Federal law enforcement has been critical to our effective response to the recent false threats made against the Levite Jewish Community Center. Additionally, we want to thank the entire Birmingham community for their support of the important work that the LJCC has been doing for 110 years. Our goal has always been to bring people of all faiths and races together to enjoy educational, camping, wellness, recreational and cultural programs that build a strong community”