HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Leaders, police, and neighbors in the Five Points area of Huntsville are trying to stop speeding on their streets.
Huntsville Police started the Five Points Initiative in February, working with neighborhood and community watch leaders as well as city council member Frances Akridge to identify problems in Five Points and create solutions together.
Akridge told us speeding is a problem she hears about the most from her constituents.
Police noticed it too and heard about it during a community survey.
"We are trying to slow everybody down," said Officer Ricky McCarver of HPD. "Speed is an issue in all the city, but in small neighborhoods like this, it's definitely an issue. Because we have a lot of children who live in the area."
The Five Points Initiative is part of an HPD plan to address community issues, reduce crime, and educate people and businesses in the area to strengthen them from within. The department holds monthly meetings to talk with neighbors about the progress. The goal is to eventually allow the community watch groups and neighborhood associations to run their own meetings, and keep watch over their own neighborhood with strength they gain from the initiative and the knowledge of who to call when they need help.
"Each year, we define a part of the city that possibly needs some help. We will assign patrol officers to that area, and that's where we stay," Officer McCarver said.
Speeding is a target for the group, and they want to get everyone on board. It's not just outsiders who are doing it, noted Donny Rye who came to the meeting to share his own experience with speeding in his South Huntsville neighborhood.
"People just drive too fast in their own neighborhood," he told WHNT News 19. "Occasionally it is people who are cutting through neighborhoods."
He told the group at Tuesday's meeting that he used a mixture of signs, which tell people to slow down, and social media awareness to target speeders in his neighborhood. He brought the idea to the Rotary Club of Greater Huntsville and it took off.
"I recognized it was a citywide issue," he said. "As it has progressed, it has turned into a general public safety program."
Akridge and neighborhood associations want to bring that effort, Kidz Safe, to Five Points. But they need buy-in.
Police and Rye believe that it takes a neighborhood to create a safe place. They all need to work together to identify issues and make everyone aware of what can be done.
Rye said, "You can slow down traffic. It just has to be a concerted effort and it requires a little maintenance."
"Slow down. Watch out for each other. We watch out for your community," said Officer McCarver.
Akridge, and police, said they want to have a safety block party in Five Points to further spread awareness. HPD would run radar, have activities for kids, and the neighborhood leadership would help plan it.
Akridge also shared this video she created to explain the Slow Down campaign: