Violence is beginning to feel all too familiar in Birmingham, Ala.
Over Labor Day weekend, eight teenagers were shot in the Magic City, one when someone fired multiple rounds from outside of his home into his bedroom in East Lake, another seven outside of WorkPlay Theatre on Sunday evening following a dispute that began inside the club.
One Birmingham City Councilor thinks it’s time to start holding parents accountable for these senseless acts of violence that their children commit.
“I’ve been trying to get a bill sponsored where we could put some teeth into holding parents accountable for what they call ‘Capricious Acts’ or contributing to acts of violence of their children,” Scales explained.
Scales has asked the Jefferson Delegation to help write legislation that would make stiffer penalties for parents whose children commit violent crimes — including fines and potential jail time.
“If these parents know that the child has either a gun in their possession, a knife, and communicating with friends who may not be necessarily in the child’s best interest and they know this is creating a gang activity, we are saying to you parents, you are our best police,” Scales told WBRC.
She continued, “We need parents to understand the severity of what’s happening in our streets amongst children who are under the age of 17. So, what I believe will happen is when parents have to pay out of their pocket, when parents are being placed in jail because they knew they had contributed to the violent acts of their children, then that’s going to make them get on to those children and they will do the things that they need to do as parents.”
Scales said she when she was growing up parents were more involved and it’s time for that to happen again.
“When we were growing up… you didn’t have to worry about the police too much because your momma and your daddy took care of that business,” Scales said at the Council meeting. “The police cannot do what a parents is supposed to be doing. The police are supposed to pick up where we leave off. That doesn’t mean we leave what we’re supposed to be doing. At some point we’re going to have to take personal responsibility.”
“At the end of the day we’re going to have to establish some kind of respect for authority. And we’re going to have to hold everybody accountable.” No police chief is going to solve the crimes of this city alone. It’s going to take all of us working together.”
Watch the full City Council meeting below: