Community reacts to rash of violence

Wylam

[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1372566108&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4122453&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1372566108 type=script]BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – On the heels of Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper addressing the rise in violence in the city, a double homicide in Wylam has brought the number of lives lost to eleven in two weeks.

17-year-old Jonathan and Jeremy Berry were shot at killed on June 28th. According to police three men force their way into a home on Attalla Street in Wylam. They received a call around 11:30 p.m.

Police say as the mother of the two teens pulled into the drive, she noticed the men and tried to flee but they began firing shots at her vehicle causing her to crash in a neighbors yard. The suspects shot the teens before leaving the home. According to police the mother is expected to recover from her injuries.

On June 26thBirmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper met with Birmingham Mayor William Bell and the city council to come up with a plan to address the rise in crime.

Roper says the city went 10 days without a single homicide, before the recent rash in violence began and that Birmingham has experienced tremendous success over the last 6 years in lowering the homicide rate but there is much work to be done as a community.

The shooting in Wylam has neighbor feeling helpless.

“12 murders in over, what is it? 12 days? It’s ridiculous. I just feel like I don’t know what to do. I wish it was something that I can do personally within our community to help,” said Andrea Sanders.

Sanders has lived in the Wylam area for about six months.

The increase in violence has many asking, “What can be done?”

“A lot of people just don’t understand that this is not the end and this is not the way,” Caroyln Johnson.

Johnson works with the Parents Against Violence Foundation in Birmingham. They counsel youth on conflict resolution and work with those who’ve been caught guns, drugs or who’ve committed crimes.

“I get calls from parents at night whose kids are out, they can’t find them. We get in a car we try to go find them and most of the time we do.”

Every year the foundation holds a “Save Our Youth” event.  It’s their way of putting a wrench in the gears of violence.

“You’re not going to be able to change everybody, you’re not going be able to stop people from killing each other because some people just have that in them, but for the most part the people that want to change, they’re very receptive to what we have to offer.”

Community, family, parent involvement are all things that many feel could be the key to a change.

“I think we need to have stronger built families because that’s what’s wrong these days. The families are not strong and built with love and people are not coming home in the evening eating dinner together and talking about things that are going on in their life. I think that plays a big part in just the community alone. That’s one way, It’s not going to solve everything but I think it’s one way in which we can start bringing or community together,” said sanders.

On June 26th Chief A.C. Roper announced that the hours of 50 officers, from the tactical units to crime reduction teams, are being adjusted to put more feet on the streets during the overnight hours when a lot of the recent murders have happened.

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