By Grant Essenmacher
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter
Lansing Township has been affected by the high crime rates of neighboring Lansing for years. That continues to be the case nowadays, and is a problem that the township must deal with.
In 2014, the crime rate in Lansing was 44 percent higher than the national average according to areavibes, a service that provides demographics for cities. For Lansing Township citizen Brian Watkins, the crimes surrounding the area is a major issue.
“I think anytime you are discussing crime, especially in a suburb of a bigger city it’s an issue.” Watkins said. “It is not just a Lansing Township issue, but a national issue.”
Watkins also went on to discuss his concerns with less people wanting to live in the township, due to the fear of crime.
“Anytime someone is considering moving here, I am sure that is a concern. I think most people would look into that aspect before deciding to move. Especially young families,” Watkins said.
As far as citizens opinions go, Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes said she is always considering how her residents are feeling, especially towards an issue as serious as this.
“Absolutely, we care about our constituents, we want to know what they’re engaged in, we want to know how different things like crime impact them,” Hayes said.
Hayes also talked about how they are trying to use social media to gain a better understanding of what is going on in the township with their citizens.
“We are starting to get more acclimated with social media and to see how we can use it to better improve our services,” Hayes said.
Crime affects people in different ways. Many citizens see it as a large issue, one that could always use attention in order to show improvement. However, for citizen Lisa Richardson, she has not had it affect her as much as others.
“I am sure it is out there and is something that the police department handles, but I have lived here for over 20 years and have not been directly affected,” Richardson said. “I guess I hope that continues.”
Violent crimes have struck the Lansing area in particular. The 2014 rate for violent crimes was 206 percent higher than the national average. Just last week in Lansing Township, two reports were made involving a concealed weapon, and firing on an open vehicle according to the Lansing Township Police Department. Lansing Township Police Chief Kay Hoffman declined comment on this story.
There were also multiple robberies found in last week’s report, a total count of eight robberies or break-ins were filed. Over the month of April, a total of 13 robberies had been filed by the department.
Michigan State University Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Phil Schertzing suggests that this kind of criminal behavior is typical, especially when a township is located next to a larger city.
“I’m not sure that there is much difference in the types of crimes found in a township versus a city, especially when the township is adjacent too, or broken up within, a large city like Lansing Township is in relation to the city of Lansing,” Schertzing said.
Schertzing also discussed how Lansing Township residents have an advantage, because of the training and behavior that local police departments usually show.
“The police department also probably has most of their personnel trained in community policing methods, rather than just certain units as in a large metro agency,” Schertzing said
“I think township government is close to and in touch with their residents, and likely to respond with ordinances that seem popular or are demanded by influential segments of their population. This can impact policing as well,” Schertzing said.
Even with violent crimes in Lansing affecting Lansing Township, citizens feel that they must rely on the police to continue to keep them safe affectively. Richardson believes the department does a good job of this.
“Overall, I still feel safe living in this community. I have no complaints about the way our police department operates,” Richardson said.