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LaBrandon Dates


The Ugly Side of Gentrification in Downtown Birmingham


There’s a painted sign a few blocks from my place that reads, “It’s nice to have you in Birmingham.”

I was out creating content in front of this landmark on a day that wasn’t particularly positive in the city. It seemed that a series of warnings led to terrible news.

On January 4, one of my neighbors sent a message to our building’s group chat saying, “Everyone beware! I just now heard from one of our neighbors in [a nearby] building that cars are being broken into.”

A week later, a friend who also lives downtown had his car broken into.

Then on Sunday 1/13 at 1:59 am, two officers who were working on a special detail dealing with the car break-ins encountered gunfire after spotting suspicious activity. One officer was killed and the second was critically injured. [read more]

I’m excited to be part of the revitalization of downtown Birmingham, but incidents like this expose the ugly side of gentrification. If you are considering moving to an area that’s changing economically, understand that newcomers are targets hence the potential for increased crime.

My prayers go out the families of the officers who were working hard to keep my neighborhood safe. I wish people had more respect for the property of others, but more importantly the lives of others.