Birmingham officers hit the streets to build relationships | News
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC)- Birmingham Police took to the streets of West End to build relationships with people in neighborhoods.
Wednesday, about fifty police officers walked around West End trying to meet and greet area residents. This caught some off guard.
"I asked was it safe to walk down this street? I saw a lot of police. I wanted to know why," Vanessa Covington said.
Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper lead the walk.
"We can get out, meet the citizens, the business owners. Express our concerns for them. Listen to any concerns they might have. It's all about relationship," Roper said.
The Birmingham Police Department has had an increased presence in the area since November as a part of Operation Close Out. The operation seeks to protect Christmas shoppers from crime. Roper hopes face to face meetings will build trust for police officers. Many in neighborhood welcomed the police officers.
"I think they will be good for our community cause West End is pretty bad right now. Not all of it but we have had break-ins and stuff going on," Angela Hosea said.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell also joined the walk. Bell says this is all about the city's increased efforts to combat crime.
"In addition to this you are looking at technologies. We are looking at beefing up special units within the police department but you got to put the leather on the streets. This is what this is about," Bell said.
Those who live in West End believe this can make a difference.
"I hope it does. I really do. It needs to. We all need peace," Dorothy Martin said.
The police department believes their increased crackdown lead to about 300 arrests since November. Those numbers could be released later this week.
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