By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
Birmingham police on Tuesday announced a curfew in the Marks Village community in Gate City to help address public safety concerns raised by residents.
Allen Hatcher, deputy chief for the Birmingham police department, said the curfew applies to anyone under age 17. During the weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. children are required to be in school; on Sunday – Thursday, children must be in their homes by 10 p.m. unless supervised by a parent. On Fridays and Saturdays children must be home by midnight. Parents will be fined if their children are out afterhours without their supervision.
There are exceptions for teenagers who have jobs, Hatcher said. “Officers will work with them for that situation if they are driving or walking home from their jobs.”
Police officials and other city leaders made the announcement at a town hall meeting in Lewis Park, which is located in Marks Village, after residents raised concerns over a number of recent shootings in the area.
Devoris Ragland-Pierce, Crime Prevention Officer, said some parents were afraid to let their children come out to play.
Police captain Allen Treadaway said the area has had a heavier police presence since the shootings and asked for the community’s help to reduce crime.
“If you know of anything that may be going down, give us a call,” Treadaway said. “There’s only so many of us, and we can’t have an officer on every block, so if you share that information I promise you we will take it and make sure this community stays safe.”
Treadaway gave residents a number to anonymously call if there is an issue. That number is 205-254-2684 and can be called 24 hours a day.
Michael Lundy, president and CEO of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District, also announced a gun buyback program tentatively scheduled in November.
Lundy said the HABD will work with police for the program. He also announced hiring a public safety director through the housing authority.
“We’re going to have someone on our staff to help us coordinate public safety activities and security measures,” Lundy said. “I think it will be more effective than the regular staff trying to implement these programs.”
Some residents felt the people who needed to hear the message were not present.
“As usual the younger residents aren’t here to hear this, and they’re the ones who need to hear it,” a woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “I personally feel like that’s part of the problem with so many residents, and no guidance. They really need to be out here.”
The crowd was filled with mostly middle aged and older women, and A.J. Johnson, who grew up in the area, agreed.
“It’s going to be a challenge trying to get young people out here,” Johnson said. “The city of Birmingham needs to ask themselves have they wronged the children of Birmingham. Most of the ones out here committing the crimes are students with a lower education, we need to look at how to keep these kids educated, because they are staying out of trouble if they are being educated the way they deserve to be.”