Lansing is chipping away at its high crime rate

By Zachary Mitchell
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

Crime rates in Lansing are significantly higher than other cities. According to an FBI report, Lansing has an average of 153 crimes per square mile, compared to 39.6 crimes per square mile nationally.

Among these crimes, robberies are a large issue. According to this same report, the chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime such as robbery is one in 97 in Lansing.

Police Chief Michael Yankowski says that crime will not be tolerated in the Lansing area, and that the police force is doing everything that it can to ensure that Lansing residents are safe and law abiding.

Police efforts have been recognizable, with Lansing going from the 70th most dangerous city in the country in 2012, to the 80th in 2014.

The amount of robberies reported in 2014 in Lansing was 250, with an average of 219 per 100,000 population, compared to the U.S. average of 102 per 100,000 population. During the month of December in 2015, there was even 16 robberies reported within 30 days in Lansing.

On March 3 of this year, a robbery was reported at a local Comerica Bank, though bank robberies are very rare in Michigan.

Mayor Virg Bernero said that “most Lansing residents will never experience violent crime.” He says that if Lansing residents keep good company, and are law abiding, then they should not have any issues related to robbery, or other crimes.

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Distance, future are deciding factors for Lansing’s future college graduates

By Alana Easterling
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

Exploring new places and securing a new future are some of the reasons Lansing high school graduates decided to go to college.

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“I wanted to go somewhere far away,” said Jazmine Petteway, a 2016 Waverly High School graduate. “To be quite honest, college for me will be my getaway.

“I’ve never touched the soil of anywhere besides Michigan, literally, and I just figured college could not only be my first time going somewhere, but it can also be my way to not have to come back.”

Petteway was recently accepted to the University of Portland, and will be a part of their 2016 freshman class. She will be the first in her family to go off to college.

“I just want to make a better life for myself, and be a better example for my little sisters,” said Petteway. “All throughout high school, my teachers would speak so highly of college, talking about how beneficial it was for them, and the great time and experiences they had in college.

“Also, if [she corrected herself] when I do graduate, I’ll be the first in my family to go and graduate from college, and even better- I’ll inspire my little sisters to follow after me.”

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CATA’s express bus plan offers faster transit, but garners some community concerns as well

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By Jasmine Seales
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

The Capital Area Transportation Authority has been planning to implement a Bus Rapid Transit line to run through Lansing, East Lansing and Meridian Township via Grand River and Michigan avenues that would replace the Route 1 bus system.

The project involves center-running bus-only lanes on said streets that would mimic a light railway system. It is currently set to begin construction in late 2017 or early 2018 with a budget of over $100 million.

The bus system would reduce the amount of stops on the Route 1 stop from 45 to 27, but it would increase the pick-up time for passengers to every 6 to 10 minutes, rather than every 9 to 20.

There have been a slew of mixed reviews from Lansing locals and business owners who have made a stir, with many saying that the new system would cause a heap of problems.

“The lanes are in the middle of the road, there are so many elderly and disabled people who ride buses that will be forced to risk their safety for transportation,” said Brandy Cawthin, a student who rides the bus to get to class at Lansing Community College. “The new system would also eliminate stops, and those same disabled and elderly people may have to walk further distances for transportation,” said Cawthin.

CATA Assistant Executive Director Debbie Alexander stated that though there is harsh criticism, CATA is taking every complaint very seriously.

“We accept all perspectives and put them under great consideration. This is a community and its valuable to hear what people think about huge projects like this. It affects a large number of people,” said Alexander.

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Lansing grappling with high poverty rate

By Jack Ritchey
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

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Lansing, at 29.4 percent, has a higher rate of people in poverty than bordering states’ capitals, the state of Michigan, and the United States.

Richard Robertson, PhD, an ecological economist and associate professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, says the higher poverty rate in Lansing compared to other nearby state capitals is a part of the economic structure of the cities.

“The economy of the greater Lansing area has historically been concentrated in a few areas — namely state government, higher education and the manufacturing industry. While employment in the first two sectors has been mostly stable, the statewide decline in the manufacturing industry between 2000 and 2012 brought numerous Lansing businesses down with it,” Robertson said.

While the data on Lansing can sound and look bleak, it’s important to pay attention to the trend of the past couple years, which has shown that the area is headed in the right direction.

According to the multitude of data on The Michigan League for Public Policy’s website, child poverty and overall poverty have been declining in Ingham county since 2012, with unemployment declining in the same area since 2009.

Lansing, like the rest of Michigan, suffered heavy manufacturing job losses since 2000 with the decline of the auto industry in the state and nationally.

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Despite nationwide concerns, in Lansing perceptions and statistics show police acting properly

By Jasmine Seales
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

So far, this year has proven to be a racially tense one, with the Black Lives Matter movement gaining strength, and the issue of police brutality very visible across the country.

However, some Lansing residents do not feel that Lansing police is as brutal and unjust as some other officers around the country.

“Police do what they can to protect us. I’ve never had an issue with police here, or anywhere else. They’re just doing their job,” said Aleika Hayes, a local resident.

Overall, the Lansing Police Department has only had 25 recorded officer-related shootings since 1990, and only 10 of them have been fatal. This number is extremely low compared to the over 700 recorded fatal police shootings in the United States in 2016 alone.

“Everyone’s life matters to us. We do our job with integrity and that’s what we want people to understand. Our job is to keep our community and the people in it safe. We have had protesting in the area and are more than open to hearing what the community wants and are willing to give a fair response,” said Robert Merritt, the Lansing Police Department’s public information officer.

Even with statistics to prove that Lansing’s police force is not as brutal as some police forces may be, there have still been local rallies and events in recent years to fight against police brutality.

“We still protest because we want all of our brothers and sisters to know that they are not alone. The issue of police brutality is bigger than the city of Lansing. It’s bigger than all of us. Just because we have a few kind officers here, doesn’t mean brutality doesn’t exist. Just because we have a few kind officers doesn’t mean they don’t profile. Change needs to be made. That’s why we protest,” said Shannon Fields, an activist who marched with MSU Black Student Alliance in 2014.

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National Night Out events in Lansing area aimed at improving police-community relations

By Zachary Mitchell
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

From Aug. 2-9, the Lansing area hosted various events associated National Night Out. This event is created to help form positivity, trust, and friendships within Lansing’s communities.

According to Robert Chartnard, the executive organizer, overall the event was outstanding and well-appreciated for bringing the community together and focusing on positive actions instead of focusing on the negativity that is going on in the world today.

“This event is done once a year at the beginning of August and it also corresponds with our summer reading program for the youth in the summer. The goal of this event is to help the community unite and bring an extensive amount of positivity to the youth,” said Chartnard.

“Children had the opportunity to meet and greet with police officers, firefighters. The children had fun, they got a chance to hunk the police horns and play with the sirens on their cars, with no punishment. There was a large amount of free food provided for the kids,” said Chartnard.

Children were entertained and got a chance to talk, and play games with police officers.

“I believe this event helps kids become more comfortable with police officers, and deter them away from the police brutality mentality,” said Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski.

“Our expectations are to be able to help provide as many smiles and good vibes as possible throughout the city of Lansing,” said Yankowski.

Restrictions and observers hem in Lansing’s convicted sex offenders

By Jasmine Seales
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

In The Greater Lansing area as of now, there are about 929 registered sex offenders, according to the Lansing State Journal. Of those 929, 71 percent are Tier 3 offenders, meaning that they have committed the highest amount of crime that they could commit.

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There are a multitude of bans and rules that sex offenders in Michigan must comply to, including being banned from working, loitering and living with 1,000 feet of elementary and high schools.

Often times, due to pressure from the public, sex offenders are badgered by other citizens, especially parents to either be fired, or not be hired or picked for jobs, organizations, and other things of that nature.

According to Lansing parent Maggie Hauser, she looks at sex offender websites to keep track of the sex offenders in her area.

“I feel like I need my young children safe. Yes, I do watch the sex offenders, and make sure they are no where around any of the neighborhood kids, and report things if I feel like they are suspicious. I don’t feel like anything is wrong with that,” she said.

Lansing police also state that it is not uncommon for local residents to report sex offenders doing suspicious acts in their neighborhoods.

“Many times reports from locals are very helpful. Many sex offenders are noncompliant when it comes to reporting required information to law enforcement. It helps with tracking location,” said Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski.

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Once shunned as a “breastaurant,” Hooters now just another place to eat in Lansing

By Alana Easterling
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

Hooters restaurant, once frowned upon by some, isn’t the shock it used to be.

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Since opening in the spring of 1983, Hooters has caused quite a controversy. Known for its fried chicken wings, and most importantly its glamorized waitresses dressed in skimpy uniforms, Hooters came to Lansing back in 2001. When it first arrived to the Lansing area, its desired location was in Frandor Shopping Center, but that was opposed by some local residents.

“The people wouldn’t sign the ordinance to get the restaurant in the Frandor area,” said Katie Mullberry. “They were afraid that it was gonna be bad publicity for the area.

“They’re more conservative in that area I’m assuming, and they wanted to avoid the restaurant that came with so many sexual stereotypes.”

Starting out as a Hooters Girl eight years ago, Mullberry has entered competitions within the restaurant, become one of the general managers, and has been given the opportunity to manage almost every Hooters location in Michigan.

“A very small population still considers Hooters as a risqué restaurant anymore,” said Jeffery Elsworth, an associate professor at The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. “They’ve sorta weathered their storm in terms of being risqué, and have been so well developed within the industry over the years.”

“They made a couple new hires in human resources that has helped rebuild their brand, steering the restaurant further and further away from the ‘breastaurant’ stereotypes.”

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Although right next door, MSU not always noticed by Lansing

By Jack Ritchey
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

It seems high school students, even in the biggest college communities in the state like Greater Lansing, might not even notice they live alongside college towns.

Holly Carmody, a lifelong resident of Lansing and recent political science Michigan State University graduate, says the hustle and bustle of the fall semester beginning at MSU in East Lansing is somewhat lost on Lansing youth.

“In high school at least, I just know everyone’s focused on their own lives in the fall to really notice what’s going on at MSU,” said Carmody, 23. “I mean I don’t have any older siblings so I wasn’t really concerned with any of that; maybe if I did it would have been different, but yeah.”

She says even growing up in Lansing, she didn’t really pay attention to MSU happenings until she was a Spartan herself.

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Local business hosts sidewalk sale

By Zachary Mitchell
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

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On July 30, Delphi Glass Co. had a sidewalk sale in order to attract more customers.

According to Delphi staff, the sale is a major key to attracting business.

“That’s their biggest day through business. They probably make on average five to six times what they would make on a usual day and we also get rid of a lot of stock that we had that was damaged,” said Dane Porter.

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