BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Instead of seeing crime scenes in Wylam, a young retired Army captain wants to use the corner of Bank Street and 7th Ave Wylam to launch an effort to the break the cycle of despair.

He talked with us about how he plans to do it and why he’s so passionate about making a difference.

“When I see, when I see senior citizens and our people living like this and I’m making money because I figured out the information, I can’t just sit back and watch that,” William Hicks said.

Hicks got emotional expressing his feelings about sharing information with people struggling in his Wylam neighborhood. He said, “I can’t just not say nothing.”

So, the 37-year-old retired Army captain is on a crusade. He’s using resources he’s acquired through real estate investing to reach back to help others, face to face.

“Just to have a conversation about the things that are going on in the neighborhood so that we can help stop some of the violence,” Hicks said.

He passed out flyers asking neighbors to meet him on the corner, a small city park most people in Wylam are familiar with. He’s working to make the community safer, helping to increase home ownership and supporting neighborhood entrepreneurship, an approach that works according to UAB Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Kay Morgan, PhD.

“It has to involve community members. We can’t go in and improve policies in the community without really sitting down with community members,” Morgan said.

Hicks added, “If we don’t work together, we’re going to lose a lot and that’s what made me want to do it.”