5 Murders in 5 Days: Montgomery Police Create Plan to Prevent Violent Crimes

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By Heather VacLav

There have been five murders in five days, contributing to 26 homicides in Montgomery this year.

The Montgomery Police Department is busy investigating back to back homicides all week long, but part of solving these crimes, is figuring out ways to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Police Chief Kevin Murphy says police can not stop these violent crimes until they understand them. But it's easier said then done, so police are getting help from other professionals to devise a plan.

“The leading cause of death for black males in America ages 15-34 is homicide with a bullet at the hand of another black male,” said Dr. Earnest Blackshear, a clinical psychologist at Alabama State University. Blackshear spoke to the media at a police press conference Friday afternoon.

Montgomery Police hired Dr. Blackshear to figure out why so many homicides are happening in the city, and how to prevent murder from happening in the community.

In communities filled with people released from prison, Dr. Blackshear says the moral code goes away and, what he calls the "street code," becomes law.

He says most people committing violent crimes grew up on the streets watching them happen, and because of that, suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Blackshear wants to break the cycle early, so he says a big part of the plan will focus on working with kids in Montgomery’s school.

Another part of the plan involves him and other health professionals going into communities suffering the most to create re-entry programs for those coming out of jail and going back into society.

“We need to look at what are the precursors that allow individual to get that angry to shoot another human and end their life and not have any remorse about it,” Dr. Blackshear said.

Chief Murphy wants the community to know these murders are “very disturbing and unacceptable”.

While police do not have a name for their plan, they expect to start it up in the coming weeks. However, the plan won't solve the problem with violent crimes overnight, Dr. Blackshear says it could take at least three years.

Four arrests have been made out of the five murders, and police are still looking for the gunman involved in the shooting of John Scroggins Wednesday on Crouson Street.

If you have any information, you're asked to call Montgomery Police at 334-241-2651.

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Anonymous said on Saturday, Oct 13 at 12:15 AM

I think Dr. Blackshear speaks a good deal of sense. Speaking as an outsider from England, I'm not familiar with Montgomery or its crime problems, but continuing to just carry on in the same old way is just letting an open wound fester. I'm reminded of a project for young offenders in the East End of London, an area that's as tough as they come. The offenders were introduced to sport an area that demands a certain degree of self-discipline. The project chanelled aggression, and everyone taking part were astounded that, even though they weren't aware of it at the time, the self-discipline had automatically taken hold. Rather than being a blight on their community, they gradually thought of it as something to be proud to represent - in their attitude, their manner,and as a citizen - things they'd never even thought of before. Fortunately, this project was one patronized by the Duke of Edinburgh, and he met those taking part during one of his visits.

Anonymous said on Saturday, Oct 13 at 12:27 AM

Continuing: Self-discipline can in turn create a self-awareness for self-improvement, rather than the addiction to violence and crime - along with the gut-feeling that so many young criminals feel - that of hopelessness and 'nothing else matters as I haven't a hope of being good at anything'. They all know the threat isn't realy worth it - not realy. A new awareness creates the climate for education to flourish - and a pride in themselves and their community - however hard it is to overcome - as it's THEIR genuine new-found worth they're preserving. When schools, colleges, local dignituries, parents, and companies join together to invest time in such projects, and in people, the results are surprising. You have to remove people from crime - and remove the crime from people's minds by filling the vacumn that's left with showing the benefit of self-pride, pride in their communities, the will to believe in themselves and stand up to be counted.

Anonymous said on Saturday, Oct 13 at 12:40 AM

Continuing: When young people, and their elders, realize that this is preferable to violence and death, the same old boring cycle of self-destruction can be broken. Good will by companies and entrepreneurs can lead to employment. When the state fails to honour its part of the social contract between nation and people, communities can reverse the effect. After all, what's the alternative when children are too afraid to learn, teenagers are too scared to be themselves, everyone lives in fear, and the community dies in squalour and hopelessness. Live with pride in yopurself - don't follow the crowd like a timid mouse and probably die like one. Dr. Blackshear certtainly is worth listening to, and however worthless you feel, his advice - and that of others wanting to stop the rot is something to think about carefully and more than once. Interesting man indeed - I wish him luck. Five murders in five days is a flavour of the alternative. Where I live crime is almost non-existent thankfully.

Anonymous said on Saturday, Oct 13 at 12:42 AM

I hope it's the case for you some day. Sorry for hogging the boards by the way, and I hope this long, drawn out epic makes just a little sense. Nice little news-site too incidentally.

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