MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A new plan to deter crime, as the City of Mobile announces a new location for one of its police precincts. The city says it will better serve the people who live there.

It is an empty building right now, but soon it will be the headquarters for the Mobile Police Department’s First Precinct. With more officers will be along Dauphin Island Parkway.

“Many times citizens down here on DIP really just thought they had been forgotten about,” said CJ Small, a Mobile City Councilman for the area. That all changed Thursday, as the mayor and other city leaders announced a police precinct would soon occupy an empty building off DIP. The current precinct is on Virginia and Broad Street. That one will close once renovations on the new building are complete.

“We were housed in facilities that were designed for other services,” said Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

When precinct one’s officers move into the building, city leaders say police will be able to respond faster, and have more positive interactions with the community.

Small says this has been a long time coming for the area. “Way before I took council, many citizens have wanted a police precinct down here on Dauphin Island Parkway. And personally, I was saying to myself it probably would never have happened no time soon, but sooner came sooner,” said Small.

As the mayor was signing the lease Thursday morning, a man who lives in the area pulled up. When he found out what was happening, he exclaimed, “thank God.”

He explained why he was relieved, “quicker response time. I love it right here. They was talking about it the whole time, I’m glad they put it here,” Bobby Holley said.

Crime rates have been high in the area. Just last week, a man was shot on Nicholas Lane, and a few weeks before that, a 17-year-old was killed on Brill Road.

By the end of May, there were 19 homicides in the city of Mobile this year. Five of them were in precinct one, the second-highest rate in the city.

“The citizens have got something that the citizens will feel like they are more safe when they see the policemen entering in and out of the heart of District 3,” said Small.

Holley says he will feel safer to have police nearby. “Tell them thank you for doing this,” he explained.

There will also be a City Magistrate in the new precinct once it is open to the public. The city says they should have construction and renovations complete by the end of the year.