There have been an alarming 22 murders so far in 2008. It's a record no city wants. But it's the reality for Birmingham, Ala.
City leaders are trying to do all they can to keep residents safe.
CBN News told you recently about Mayor Larry Langford's unique approach to fighting crime - with the sword of the Spirit - God's Word. Now, there is an update on the Bible distribution and the mayor's call for city-wide repentance.
Sack Cloth and Ashes
Langford's call to prayer is the latest in his efforts to see Birmingham residents turn to God - and seek peace for the city.
"We are gonna be calling about 2,000 ministers and people in this community together and we're are going to put on some sackcloth and ash and get together and humble ourselves and pray and I guarantee you God will hear the prayers of this city," Langford said.
Recently, more than a thousand people turned out for the mayor's family summit in Birmingham, despite severe storms.
Attendees received Bibles in English and Spanish provided by CBN and the American Bible Society. It was the third in a series of meetings designed to turn Alabama's largest city from crime to God.
Children and adults pledged to support the mayor's plan and take God's Word into their community.
"The Bible says without a vision the people will perish, and the vision starts with the family. And you can't change the fruit without changing the root," said one resident.
The mayor says Birmingham needs a miracle.
The majority of crimes here are committed by African Americans between the ages of 10 and 30 - and the victims of crime are also young African Americans.
Just a few clicks through local news Web sites show the problem: Night after night there are crimes from robbery to rape and murder.
Police have zero tolerance for crime, conducting raids and making arrests in known criminal hot spots across the city.
The Mayor Answers His Critics
Langford says the crime problem will be solved through prayer and repentance.
He says he's got the council's support and that of many residents, but admits he has a few critics.
"If you don't want to pray, fine. Just keep your evil self away from me," the may said candidly. "If you've got a problem with God take it up with Him. The destruction of all of us will come when we think we know so much that we've got all the answers."