BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Birmingham is giving nearly $150,000 to several community organizations with hopes that they can reduce violence by teaching conflict resolution.
The effort is similar to one last year that involved 900 young people who were mentored and learned character-building through sports, education and volunteer work, Al.com reported.
It is part of a broader effort to curb violence in the city.
Earlier this year, Birmingham officials declared gun violence a public health crisis. The police department has changed its scheduling so that more officers can be on the streets during peak activity.
But Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says putting more officers on the streets isn’t the only solution to making the city safer.
“It’s not incarceration that will save us. It’s the restoration of hope,” the mayor said. “And I believe conflict resolution is the key ingredient to erase violence in our communities.”
The police department has already seen the results of some of Woodfin’s efforts and is hopeful the extended effort will do more, Assistant Police Chief Allen Treadaway said. He said all of the efforts to reduce violent crime are effective, even if on a small level. He said he supports this effort.
Woodfin said that “conflict resolution is a cause we believe in because we are committed to the safety and well-being of our neighborhoods, as well as molding the young lives that will serve as the future leaders of those very same neighborhoods.”
“Real solutions start with making connections with our young people on a fundamental level,” Woodfin said. “It’s listening to their stories, understanding their journey, and breaking down the root causes of the violence that plagues our city.”