WUOMFM

Flint crime

mayor virg bernero at microphone with crowd behind him
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing officials are stepping up efforts to pass a renewal of the capital city’s public safety millage in next month’s election.

The millage was first approved by Lansing voters in 2011. The intent was to replace the millions of dollars the city lost in property tax revenues after property values fell sharply during the Great Recession. 

Chief Johnson says these old badges were found in storage
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s police department is looking to add dozens of reserve officers to its ranks.

The first 30 volunteers will undergo training starting later this month.  

Police Chief Tim Johnson says the reserve officers will play an important role.

“We need to bridge that gap between the citizens and the police department,” says Johnson.

The citizen volunteers will fill in-house roles and on occasion assist officers in the field. Johnson says the reserve officers will carry weapons.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Violent crime dropped in three Michigan cities known for their problems with violence.

Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw have long been ranked high on the FBI’s violent crime list.

But new stats released this week showed violent crime dropped by double-digits in all three cities. From 2014 to 2015, violent crime declined in Detroit (13%), Flint (14.3%) and Saginaw (18.1%).

All three cities have been part of a special Michigan State Police program targeting high-crime areas with stepped-up law enforcement and community engagement.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver defends Police Chief Tim Johnson (left of Mayor Weaver).
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson will soon be certified to be a police officer.

Johnson was appointed Flint’s new police chief back in February. But the career cop allowed his state certification to lapse after he retired several years ago.

Without that certification, Johnson lacked the arresting powers of officers under his command.

Johnson says he was planning to take the two-day class later this year.

“I was trying to wait for the city to reach a calm level where I could go away for a couple of days to get re-certified,” Johnson told reporters today.

ObesityinAmerica.org / The Endocrine Society and The Hormone Health Network

A nearly 20-year study of African-American teenage girls in Flint has drawn a connection between the fear of violence and obesity.

Dr. Shervin Assari is a research investigator with the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health in the U-M School of Public Health.

He says a study involving hundreds of Flint teen girls shows a correlation between fear of violence in the teen years and obesity in their 20’s and 30’s.

"Chronic anxiety due to fear from living in a high crime neighborhood is taking its toll on Flint residents,” says Dr. Assari.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is taking a more aggressive stance on crime.

Standing before a conference table piled high with guns, drugs and $18,000 cash, Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson says a new unit has spent the past few weeks cracking down on street crime.

“This would have been on the streets if it wouldn’t have been for the efforts of the Crime Area Target team,” says Johnson. “There’s probably a lot more out there than we have on this table. I’m quite sure it is.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Malls and big box stores are busy today with holiday shoppers.

A steady stream of customers filed into Totem books in Flint on Black Friday.  The bookstore was holding a ‘soft’ open on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  

That may seem to be an unconventional idea. But that’s not the only unconventional thing you’ll noticed about Totem books. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s police chief hopes a new federal program will bring additional training and grant funding to fight violent crime.

Police Chief James Tolbert says the Violence Reduction Network will help reduce Flint’s high violent crime rate.  

He says the program will provide training in data analysis to identify individuals most likely to commit or be the victims of violent crime. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gun violence has claimed 11 lives in Flint in the past two weeks.

As police work to solve the murders, the community is left to find its own answers.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Police say they are seizing more illegal firearms in Flint.

This as the city reels from 11 gun-related murders in two weeks.

First Lt. Tom Kish is the state police post commander in Flint. Wednesday he stood next to a table filled with hand guns and long guns confiscated by troopers in the past two weeks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of teenagers fanned out across Flint today to help clean up the city.   Many hope by doing so they can also help clean up the city’s battered image.

Teens spent hours picking up trash, hauling away brush and painting boarded up homes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A consultant’s report says Flint police should stop responding to non-emergency 911 calls. The consultants say that would give police more time to investigate violent crimes in Flint. 

That’s just part of a report delivered by a Washington, D.C. consulting group to the Flint city council, mayor, emergency manager, as well as the city’s police and fire chiefs last night. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s newest church has an unusual mission.

Its goal is to save the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Community Impact Church held its first Sunday service yesterday in a formally abandoned church. The church is surrounded by abandoned homes, blight, and vacant lots filled with weeds.

Pastor Corey James says his Allen Park-based ministry decided to set up in one of Flint’s more distressed northside neighborhoods for a reason: To help people rebuild their neighborhood.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Police Department is taking a new approach to solving one of its biggest problems: money.

Flint’s declining tax base has meant deep cuts to the city’s police department for well over a decade. The result has been fewer police officers working with increasingly aging equipment.

The new Flint Police Foundation is intended to help fill the gap between the department’s needs and what its budget will allow.

The foundation will search for donors who can either provide cash or equipment.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is no longer the most violent city in America – barely.

Flint has topped the FBI’s list of cities of 100,000 or more for per capita violent crime for three years.

But FBI statistics for the first six months of 2013 show Oakland, California has passed Flint, though by a very small margin.

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert credits a 26% drop in murders, robberies, and aggravated assault on the public stepping forward to provide much-needed information on crimes in the city.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A consultant is being brought in to assess what can be done with the city of Flint’s public safety department.

Budget cuts and smaller workforces have strained Flint’s police and fire departments in recent years.

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley says efforts to reorganize the city's public safety departments have "really brought into question" their effectiveness.

He says the goal of the new study is to translate the city's financial resources into the public safety services the community needs.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A newspaper reports that Flint is spending less time and money investigating arsons and making fewer arrests for the crime even though the city leads the nation in arsons per capita.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s police chief says violent crime is down in his city, despite the city reaching a grim milestone this past week.

Last Sunday, 16 year old Wesley Gillmore became the 50th person murdered in Flint this year.   Flint has notched at least fifty homicides in each of the last four years. The city set a record with 67 murders in 2012.

Still police Chief James Tolbert says Flint’s violent crime rate is improving, down 29% in the last 11 months.

To keep that downward direction, Tolbert says the public’s help is needed.

Joy VanBuhler / Flickr

Election Day 2013 is close at hand.

And that's when Detroit voters will decide whether their next Mayor will be Mike Duggan or Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

The winner of the election will inherit the huge challenge of what to do about the crime rate in Detroit.

At least 386 people were murdered in the city last year, and recent FBI statistics put Detroit neck and neck with Flint for the top spot of most violent cities in America.

The high crime rate means those folks who can are getting out of these cities, which makes the economic downward spiral even worse.

What can be done? And do we really know what is driving the violence in cities like Detroit and Flint?

Michigan State University sociologist Dr. Carl Taylor joined us today from East Lansing. His new book "Third City" looks at the challenges in post-industrial Detroit and Michigan. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s Public Safety Director is resigning.

Alvern Lock submitted his resignation today. 

Alvern Lock has overseen Flint’s police and fire departments since 2009, when he was appointed to the job by then-interim mayor Mike Brown.  He submitted his letter of resignation to Mike Brown, just days before Brown himself will step down as Flint’s emergency manager.   Flint’s new emergency manager starts next month.  Brown will stay at city hall through the end of October.

Lock spent 23 years as a Flint police officer before retiring in 2006.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says new FBI crime numbers show there’s still work to be done to make Michigan cities safer.

Flint and Detroit topped the FBI’s list of most-dangerous cities, which is based on 2011 data.

But Governor Snyder says the state’s been aggressive about public safety, especially in Detroit, where violent crime rates have improved.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Detroit bankruptcy mediation begins today

“The mediation portion of Detroit’s bankruptcy starts today. The city and its creditors will try to find common ground outside court. City and state officials will meet with the city’s major unions and retirement systems,” Sarah Cwiek reports.

16% of Michiganders are driving with fraudulent insurance

“Michigan’s Secretary of State says statistics show a large percentage of Michigan motorists are driving around with phony auto insurance policies. A recent one day survey found 16 percent of auto registration renewals used fraudulent paper insurance certificates,” Steve Carmody reports.

Flint and Detroit still get top rankings for violence

Flint and Detroit remain the most violent cities in America. The Detroit News reports on FBI crime statistics released Monday.
 

“Flint saw an overall rise in violent crime. The city reported 2,774 violent crimes in 2012, nearly 400 more than 2011’s total of 2,392, the FBI reported. Detroit saw a small drop in violent crime with 15,011 incidents in 2012, compared to 15,245 in 2011.”

Flint, Mich.
Flint Michigan / Facebook.com

It isn't every day when the President of the United States turns to you for advice.

 But Flint's Mayor Dane Walling is now in that relatively small group who can say exactly that. Mayor Walling was among 18 mayors who sat down in a White House meeting with President Obama. The topic: how to reduce violence among young people -- something Dane Walling is faced with every single day. That's because Flint is among the top U.S. cities of more than 50,000 people with the worst crime rates. Mayor Dane Walling joined us today. Listen to the interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some pastors in Flint say Governor Snyder needs to be more involved in solving their city’s violent crime problem.

The pastors prayed for “a healing in our land” at the beginning of news conference at Flint’s Mt. Carmel Baptist Church this morning.

But the pastors say more than prayers are needed to fix the city’s crime problem.

This week Flint recorded its 38th homicide of the year.   

“I’ve been to too many funerals. I’ve done too many funerals,” lamented Reverend Ira Edwards, the pastor of Damascus Holy Life Baptist Church.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Communities across Michigan will be marking National Night Out this week.

National Night Out is intended to encourage people to get out of their homes and meet their neighbors.

Flint is holding a community party downtown today. 

Flint community leaders hope this week’s National Night Out will help them battle the city’s crime problem.   Flint has recorded three dozen homicides this year.  

Mayor Dayne Walling hopes events like National Night Out will help local police and neighborhood watch groups work more closely together.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint police department will soon get even more help patrolling its city’s streets.

26 Michigan state troopers currently assist Flint’s police officers. That number will expand next month, though the exact number is not yet known.

Flint could use the help.  Recently the city has seen a spate of violent crime that left seven people dead, including two children, in just six days.  Two suspects are in custody.  Police are looking for two other suspects.   

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is drawing closer to having a new plan for its future.

For decades, Flint’s population has been shrinking.  More than 50 percent of the homes in many Flint neighborhoods are vacant.  That's led to crime and other problems.

This week, about 200 city residents and consultants pored over maps of the city. They were making recommendations for which parts of Flint should be turned into parks, business centers and residential neighborhoods.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Flint's police chief may not get invited to summer barbecues with his officers.

The police union says Chief Alvern Lock got a no-confidence vote from 85 percent of officers who cast a ballot. Seventy percent of 85 members participated.

The Flint Journal says the ballot mentioned a "lack of planning to increase staffing" to protect the public. Lock says he didn't know anything about the vote and had no reaction.

Mayor Dayne Walling disagrees with the union's position and calls Lock one of the Flint's hardest-working employees.

Google Maps

With all the problems in Flint and Detroit, it's no surprise we see these cities end up on "most dangerous cities" lists.

The lists are generated using violent crime statistics from the FBI's annual "Uniform Crime Reports."

But all cities have neighborhoods prone to crime and many other neighborhoods that are not. They are safe, for the most part.

Location, Inc. says they took data from the FBI and other "exclusive data" developed by the company to rank the safety of specific neighborhoods around the country. 

Earlier this month, they released their list, Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in America, on their website NeighborhoodScout. There are six Michigan neighborhoods on the list. The top three are in Detroit.

(Click on the street names below to see a map of the neighborhoods.)

  1. Detroit (West Chicago / Livernois Avenue)
  2. Detroit (Mack Avenue / Helen Street)
  3. Detroit (Gratiot Avenue / Rosemary)
  4. Detroit (Wyoming Street / Orangelawn Street)
  5. Saginaw (East Holland Avenue / East Genesee Avenue)
  6. Flint (Chambers Street / Stonegate Drive)