BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A single piece of yellow crime scene tape dangles in the wind along Wilson Road S.W., not far from a makeshift memorial.
Plastic flowers and tea lights mark the spot where a teenager was murdered just after midnight Monday. Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper shares in the grief victims’ families feel.
“We’ve walked in those shoes right here in Birmingham when my 19-year-old baby brother was murdered some years ago,” Roper says. “So we understand the pain, the frustration and the concern that emanates from those families.”
Chief Roper is changing the schedules of about 50 police officers in response to the recent rash of homicides. The idea is to target certain hours and locations where violent crimes are happening.
Brenda Ward hopes Chief Roper’s plan works. Her 19-year-old son was shot and killed by stray bullets three years ago. Now, she makes it her mission to speak out against violence.
“He was just fun-loving,” Ward says. “He kept you laughing all the time, you know, and I miss that. I really, really miss him.”
Police officers are trying to bring down the number of lives cut short by violence to help young men leave a legacy greater than a few flowers on the side of a Birmingham road.