MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Some Montgomery residents say they don’t feel heard. It was a pressing topic during Thursday’s Office of Violence Prevention roundtable.
“Raise your hand if you’ve called the city and you don’t get a call,” said one attendee. “(You) tell us if you see something, say something, but you don’t pick up the phone to hear what we saw.”
The meeting was an opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions of city leaders about crime.
“You want to hold me responsible; I have no problem with that,” Mayor Steven Reed said. “You don’t sit in the big chair if you can’t handle this, don’t ask, but we also need to make sure we work together to be responsible as a community.”
Dozens of people demanded clarification on what was being done to reduce the city’s crime rate and how to report crimes.
“What’s the best method of alerting the authorities to shots being fired, or in other cases where it’s not an emergency, but you can’t get a fast enough response from a non-emergency number ?” said a resident during the roundtable.
The city invites residents to dial 911 in case of emergency and 311 to obtain or transmit information.
In some neighborhoods, the city can detect gunshots without a phone call, thanks to its Shot Spotter system, but the coverage area is limited.
“With this software in place, this detection system in place, can pinpoint where it came from, almost down to the address,” said Keith Moore, director of the Office of Violence Prevention.
The event also served as a reminder that Montgomery’s gun problem affects families. Debra Williams has explained that she lost her 17-year-old grandson in September after he was shot.
“It changed my whole family,” Williams said. “It makes you love more, spend more time with people, reach out to people, and see what more I can do.”
The grandmother is now calling on the community to unite, turn to their faith and practice love for each other.
Those who wish to share their concerns at a round table have yet other chances. The next one is Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Sheridan Heights Community Center.
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