This story is part of a series on downtown Birmingham that explores issues raised by recent incidents, as well as the city's response to them.
All week, Birmingham Patch has been discussing the issue of public safety in downtown Birmingham, a hot topic of conversation across dinner tables and keyboards due to several recent incidents:
- A credit card theft April 8 at , followed by .
Knowing conversations involved many voices, Patch asked for readers' opinions on public safety on Twitter, Facebook and on the site. Several readers responded and this is what one had to say
Paul Dorset: A town hall on public safety would be an 'empty gesture'
Dorset, 29, is a lifelong resident of Birmingham. After graduating from Seaholm High School in 2001, he now owns a home in Sheffield Estates with his wife and is the social media manager for Entertainment Productions in Troy.
There has always been tension and disdain towards crowded streets and youths loitering in Birmingham. When I was growing up here, we loitered on those same street corners, near the theaters and in coffee houses. Places like and weren’t around back then so the public scorn was heaped upon the street urchins.
We have created and cultivated an attractive destination for southeast Michigan. As a resident, I fully understand wanting to foster an environment of safety, but you must also reconcile those concerns with a desire of keeping Birmingham that attractive destination. Our unique shops, restaurants, and movie theaters are going to draw people of all walks of life here.
At this point, the idea of a Town Hall would be an empty gesture. Frankly, what is there left to discuss? A Town Hall would be a further airing of grievances.
I don’t feel these complaints represent a vocal minority; I think it unfortunately reflects the feelings of the community. I say unfortunate because I have discussed with staff members and management at South about these incidents. They were regretful that these problems have arisen and sincere when they’ve said they are trying to improve the environment to avoid future problems.
What I have wondered throughout this entire serialization of these incidents is how do surrounding communities with a vibrant night life (Royal Oak, Ferndale) compare as far as crime statistics. Are they having the same problems that we are now experiencing?
What now seems clear from the citizens’ responses is they don’t want to emulate Royal Oak. It looks like these restaurants have been the pilot program that we have decided to reject. Ultimately, the club scene for Birmingham is a square peg.
About the Series
Residents, business owners and visitors to Birmingham have an interest in feeling safe in the city. This Patch series explores the voices of those who live, work and run the city of Birmingham. We hope it fosters a dialogue that illustrates issues and explores possible solutions.