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crime

A police officer with his back to the camera.
Sasha Kimel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Police departments across the nation are using new methods to try to predict where crime is likely to happen and who is more likely to be a victim of crime or become a criminal element. Predictive policing is already being used. There are many approaches.

It is not without its critics, for a variety of reasons.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit still has a reputation for being a high-crime city. However, like the rest of the nation, Detroit’s violent crime rate has been steadily declining since the late 1980s.

MORGUEFILE

A portion of the state Senate budget is getting pushback from the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission.

The Senate voted to move crime victim services out of the Department of Health and Human Services – and into the Attorney General’s Office.

The budget still has a few steps to go through before it’s finalized. So the commission drafted and unanimously passed a resolution urging lawmakers to reject an effort to move the state’s crime victim services, funding and programs into the Attorney General’s Office.

MORGUEFILE

A portion of the state Senate budget is getting pushback from the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission.

The Senate voted to move crime victim services out of the Department of Health and Human Services – and into the Attorney General’s Office.

The budget still has a few steps to go through before it’s finalized. So the commission drafted and unanimously passed a resolution urging lawmakers to reject an effort to move the state’s crime victim services, funding and programs into the Attorney General’s Office.

City of Flint

A program to mow and maintain vacant lots is having a side effect in Flint: lower crime rates in those neighborhoods, including assaults, burglaries and robberies.

A Michigan State University researcher compared crime data to neighborhoods with active “clean and green” abandoned lots. He says his survey of crime stats from 2005 to 2014 shows crime rates decline as “clean and green” lots take hold.

Police Officer
Matthew Sutherland / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

"Don't be afraid to call us."

That's what Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said in a recent meeting of anxious people at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan.

The meeting addressed concerns from people who don't know how and if President Trump's immigration crackdown involves local police agencies.

Courtesy Clari Cabral / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

All this week, we’re looking at juvenile lifers in Michigan -- those inmates sentenced to mandatory life without the possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were minors.

Michigan ranks second in the number of prisoners who fit this classification. There are more than 360 juvenile lifers in Michigan, and a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases has meant that Michigan has to take a second look at the sentences these inmates were given.

Courtesy Dank Depot / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Medical marijuana fees are funding law enforcement cracking down on illegal marijuana growth and use

This information comes from a 2016 report to the legislature produced on October 27, 2016. It details that 18 counties applied for over $1 million in funding and 17 spent over $600,000. Fund use included paying overtime wages and covering raid gear. 

MORGUEFILE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Grand Rapids Police will deploy more patrol units and plainclothes officers in targeted areas of the city this weekend as it reacts to an increase in gun violence over the last two months.

Chief David Rahinsky said Friday the initiative called Operation Safe Streets also will include foot and bicycle patrols at times and the deployment of a mobile command post.

He's asking residents to support police responding to crimes and to report crimes they see being committed.

Razor wire at a Detroit police station.
Tim Jones / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Heather Ann Thompson has been in the news recently because of the success of her new book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy, a nonfiction finalist this year for the National Book Award.

A mural in the Hope District of Detroit.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

Turn on the TV news in metro Detroit, and you're bound to catch the latest story about a shooting, a stabbing, or some other tragic story about another lost life in the city.

Violent crime is something every major urban center struggles with, and Detroit is no exception.

Public Act 343 makes Michigan the 32nd state to provide exonorees with compensation for time served.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The prison reform movement in Michigan – and across much of the nation – is one of the rare issues in this contentious era that attracts support from individuals, public officials and organizations with a wide variety of agendas and political views.

A Michigan State Police file photo.
Michigan State Police

State police will now be required to document the race of people they stop.

This change comes after the ACLU of Michigan recently expressed concern about possible racial profiling in an open letter to the Michigan State Police.

State officers have quotas for traffic stops and arrests, but they haven’t been required to document the race of who they stop in their daily electronic logs.

User thinkpanama / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Peer pressure is often cited for regretful behavior, but now an ex-principal is using it to explain why he stole almost $59,000 from the school district that employed him.    

rolls of cash
Flickr user Pictures of Money / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Twin brothers who ran an $18 million Ponzi scheme in Michigan are going to prison for up to 20 years.

James and Thomas Mulholland bought real estate, mostly in college towns, that they'd turn into rental houses.

They were doing pretty well, but they hit hard times during the recession.

So they started recruiting new investors, promising big returns and hiding their financial problems. But in reality, the state Attorney General says, they were using that new money to pay back other investors.

Prison bars
powelli / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Detroit man is going to prison for 25 to 50 years, after his 9-year-old son was accidentally shot by a sibling.

It's one of several cases where prosecutors are going after adults for leaving guns where kids can find them.

On November 9, the 9-year-old boy and his then-10 year old sister were playing in their dad's bedroom and acting out a video game.

morguefile

Grand Rapids saw a drop in serious crime between 2014 and 2015.

The department's annual report says violent crimes dropped 9.5%.

David Rahinsky is the Grand Rapids police chief.

He says this drop in crime is a result of the department having built trust and rapport with the community.

"I think we recognize that the issues that confront us now are not issues that we're going to arrest our way out of," Rahinsky says. "They are issues of relationships, they're issues of trust."

A Michigan man suspected of spraying a contaminant on unpackaged food at grocery stores faces four charges of poisoning food, according to the Associated Press.  

Kyle Bessemer appeared in an Ann Arbor court Thursday, two days after his arrest.

The FBI says Bessemer admitted to spraying a mixture of hand sanitizer, water, and mouse poison on produce and food bars at three Ann Arbor stores: Whole Foods, Meijer and Plum Market. The charges cover two stores.

Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Dept.

A man accused of killing six people in southwestern Michigan has been found competent to understand the murder charges against him and assist his attorney.

 A judge held a brief hearing Friday to acknowledge the exam results for Jason Dalton. His criminal case in Kalamazoo was on hold for weeks while experts determined whether he understood the process.

 The exam wasn't intended to determine whether Dalton was insane at the time of the Feb. 20 shootings. That's a separate matter.

Grand Rapids police officer directing traffic.
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Attorneys have filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Grand Rapids and three city police officers over a 2014 incident that left an unarmed teenage boy in the hospital.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of cyber security professionals will attend a conference in Detroit Monday.

Rob Davenport is the state of Michigan’s chief technology officer. 

He says there’s been an increase in hacking by organized crime and other nations targeting big business and government computers.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

This weekend, there was a high school varsity football game played in the city of Muskegon Heights.

Normally, just the fact that a town has a football game isn't news.

But this season hasn't been normal for Muskegon Heights, and that made this weekend's game - a homecoming game against Ann Arbor’s Father Gabriel Richard High School - something to be celebrated.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

Violent crimes are down in Grand Rapids, but police there say rape investigations are on the rise.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says it's investigated 40 rape cases so far in 2015, compared to 21 this time last year.

Deputy Chief Dave Kiddle says that doesn't necessarily mean more rapes are being committed.

"We've seen better reporting, specifically in juvenile cases,” Kiddle said. “It's not necessarily an indication of an increase, but improved reporting."

Kiddle says in most of the cases reported, the victim knew the suspect.

cincy Project / Creative Commons

The landlord association in Kent County is teaming up with Grand Rapids police to try and reduce crime. They’re offering a new training program for their 1,400 members on how to react to, reduce, and even prevent crime at their properties.

Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, the popular law and order slogans were “get tough on crime,” and “lock ‘em up and throw the key away.”

Well, we tried that.

What it got us was an increase in the state prison population from 18,000 to more than 50,000.

Kate Wells

The Michigan Innocence Clinic is asking for a new trial for Davontae Sanford, who in 2007 was a developmentally disabled 14-year-old when he confessed to fatally shooting four people in a house on Runyon Street in Detroit.

Shortly after Sanford was tried as an adult and sentenced to prison, a hit man named Vincent Smothers was arrested and confessed to several murders – including the ones for which Sanford was convicted.

Smothers told police they had the wrong guy.

Jewelry For A Cause

Jewelry buyers from around the country can help get illegal weapons off the streets of Detroit.

A company called Jewelry For A Cause has recently launched the Detroit Caliber Collection. The 13-item collection joins similar collections for Newark, San Francisco and Hartford.

Peter Martin Hall / Creative Commons

In an average year, 17 people get murdered in Grand Rapids. Six is way low, lower than it’s been in 50 years.

Grand Rapids Police Lieutenant Pat Merrill says there was only one bank robbery, when 8 to 10, even up to 20 is normal. “One is unbelievably low. It is anomalous,” Merrill said.

A new crime report to be released next week shows a jump in the number of stolen cars and a major drop in the number of bank robberies. Violent crime was steady, Merrill said.

Screen shot of a crime map for Detroit from 12/29/14 to 1/4/2015 generated by crimemapping.com.
crimemapping.com

Final numbers are expected to be released this week, but early indications show a drop in the rate of violent crime in the city of Detroit.

Based on this December report from the Detroit Police Department, you can see that homicides, robberies, and sexual assaults are down.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Police Department is getting some help meeting its need for training and new equipment.

For years, the Flint Police Department has struggled with budget cuts.

Now the Flint Police Foundation is stepping in to fill some of the gaps.

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