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Action Plans Are Set: Councilor Sheila Tyson’s Community Meeting Drew Hundreds of Concerned Citizens, Block Watch Captains Were Recruited on Site

Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson doesn’t hold back any efforts when gathering citizens together to promote change. Tuesday night was no different as hundreds of residents, including neighborhood officers and youth leaders gathered together to address the issues of a recent string of crimes in the West End area at a special called community meeting held at New Hope Baptist Church. More than fifty citizens signed up to volunteer as block watch captains as action plans were created for crime prevention, community awareness and sound protocol when facing dangerous encounters. Councilor Tyson says she is encouraged about feedback that she has received and she is urging every citizen to be more vigilant and observant of their surroundings and neighbors.

“I think it’s very important for citizens to understand their roles when it comes to fighting crime,” Councilor Tyson said. “If you see suspicious activities don’t be afraid to call the police. We all have to be steadfast in our approach to help our neighbors.”

Birmingham Police Deputy Chief Allen Hatcher and Captain Raymond Crutchfield of the West precinct along with half of the Birmingham City Council including Council President Johnathan Austin joined Councilor Tyson to educate citizens on what to be observant of when spotting suspicious activities and to express their support for the unified efforts of the communities’ collaborative ideas to realize change.

Gregory Clark, presiding pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, said he was very pleased with the turnout of the citizens and challenged other pastors to get involved and encourage their congregations to be active in their communities to help prevent crime.

“Our communities need to go back to the thought process of the old days, when we fought for the safety of our communities,” said Pastor Clark. “If someone got off track and went in the wrong direction, we corrected them, loved on them, we even turned them in to police sometimes, but we got back to living. We need more of this fellowship as a balance, especially with our young people.”

Carlos Chaverst, Youth President of the National Action Network (NAN) and a community youth advocate couldn’t agree more and is hopeful that this meeting will spawn programs that steer young people towards productivity and provide them with the love and encouragement they need.

“Gang members fight together, do crime together and eat together all because of their love for each other and most times it’s because of the absence of love at home,” Mr. Chaverst said. “With this generation we have to meet them where they are and get them involved in dialogue and more community activities. When we rebuild and put love back into our communities by pouring into our young generation, we will see great change.”

 

Councilor Tyson is set to host block watch training programs where captains will obtain their official block watch kit. For more information on how you can get involved contact the Office of Councilor Sheila Tyson at 205.254.2358.

This article is a contribution from Chiara Perry (chiara.perry@birminghamal.gov) in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294.