For the inaugural issue of Weld, we asked dozens of people from throughout the community — young and not-so-young; male and female; black, white, Hispanic and Asian; Christian, Muslim, Jewish and agnostic; students, professionals, artists and more — to each give us one idea for making Birmingham better. This is one of those ideas. You can read more here.
A.C. Roper • Chief of the Birmingham Police Department
There are many variables involved when you discuss juvenile crime in the city of Birmingham. It is going to take a financial and personal investment from all concerned to get a grip on this problem. Either we pay now or we pay later. The choice is ours. The average cost associated with housing a juvenile in the Jefferson County Youth Detention Center is approximately $30.14 per day.
Looking at better ways to invest money into the prevention of new (30 percent) and repeat (70 percent) offenders would be ideal.
Problems range from poverty, teenage motherhood and the influence of would-be gangs. Parents who have a child that has been arrested or cited should be contacted and directed to resources that help to make them better parents and their children better youths. The Birmingham Police detectives do just that, but obviously there is more work to be done.
Better after-school programs would definitely help. Many crimes committed by our youth occur when they are not at school and/or when their parents are not at home. The Birmingham Police Department’s Youth Services has programs such as Police Athletics
Teams (P.A.T.) and Police Explorers to help build self- esteem and instill the concept of team work in our young people.
Parents must get more involved in the everyday lives of their children. Kids need to feel loved, wanted and needed. If not, gangs and groups will influence their behavior. The aspect of raising a child to be a productive citizen should not lie solely on the shoulders of the church and law enforcement. It begins at home and in the community as well.
Juvenile crime is everyone’s problem. Until we recognize this and invest more time and resources into the problem, it will continue to exist.
Read more Big Ideas to Make Birmingham Better here.