Tuesday, January 29, 2019
In 52% White/41% Black Opelika, Alabama, 29 of the past 30 Homicides have been Black on Black
Opelika's a charming city in Alabama, right off of Interstate 85. Out of a population of just over 30,000 people, 52% of the city's white and 41% is black. As it turns out, 29 of the past 30 homicides in the city have been black on black.
With homicide rates recently on the rise in Opelika, city officials have worked together to form a commission to address crime within the city. Mayor Gary Fuller spoke about the commission during the Lee County Voters’ October meeting Monday evening at Bethesda Baptist Church in Opelika.
Fuller said the commission's made of up 32 Opelika residents that include citizens involved in churches, schools and business. The list of members includes Opelika City Council member Tiffany Gibson-Pitts, Opelika City Schools Superintendent Mark Neighbors, Opelika Police Chief John McEachern, Wright's Market owner Jimmy Wright and more. The members will be divided into 4 sub-committees: Families, Youth, Education and Resources.
"What we want to do is determine where we are and look at what we can do," Fuller said. "I’m not willing to give up on anybody."
Fuller referred to the month of July where 3 homicides were committed in Opelika within a period of 2 weeks. He commented that 29 of the last 30 homicides committed in Opelika have been "black on black" crimes.
"All of this violence is being done by a small % of our population," Fuller said.
Fuller commented that the youth of today doesn’t always solve their disputes with a fist fight in the school yard as they did when he was growing up.
"I hear people talking about black lives matter … all lives matter," Fuller said. "It doesn’t matter what color you're, pink, purple, black, Hispanic, white … all lives matter and all lives matter here in Opelika. We have a problem and we’re doing our best to address it, but we’re not going to fix it overnight."
McEachern spoke on the importance of the commission and other ways the Opelika Police Department is working to stop crime, such as its Proactive Patrol, that offers extra police presence in Opelika.
"We’re putting more officers on the street each and every day," McEachern said. McEachern also spoke about how he works to get officers to get to know the public better.
"Every officer's given business cards and they're encouraged to introduce themselves," he said. "I encourage them to stop at businesses, schools and other places and get to know the people."
McEachern also poke about the recent homicide cases and added that the police department has been lucky to solve the crimes.
"But 1 murder's too many," he said. "We’re doing everything we can possibly do to stop this, but we can’t do it by ourselves. We need the entire community to get involved."
at 9:01 AM