Have Crime Rates Decreased in Old Town?

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Captain Mike Yankowski, of the Lansing Police Department, said crime rates have gone down in Old Town.

“I do not have specific crime stats, but [crime] has [decreased],” he said. “Occasionally, we will have a breaking and entering, larceny, or robbery.”

Yankowski said he is in charge of all of the department’s Road Patrol Division, which includes 120 employees.

Yankowski said no specific officer is assigned to protect Old Town.

“Old Town is in team number two. There is no community policing officer in Old Town. There are a total of four to five officers that normally work the area, but on different days,” he said.

Brittney Hoszkiw, the executive director of the Old Town Commercial Association, said North Lansing has one of the lowest crime rates in the city.

Hoszkiw said she communicates directly with the businesses of Old Town and the LPD regarding crime in the area.

Jamie Schriner-Hooper, a volunteer on the Old Town Organization Committee, said they have been fighting the perception that Old Town is a dangerous place for some time.

She said the crime rate has decreased over the past 10 years as the vacancy rates have as well.

Yankowski said the most common type of crime he sees in Old Town is probably larceny or malicious destruction of property and Schriner-Hooper said there are occasional break in’s.

Yankowski said the worst crime he can recall this year happened in the spring.
“[There were] four breaking and entering [cases] to several businesses,” said Yankowski. “The Speedway at Larch and Grand River was robbed at knifepoint.”

Schriner-Hooper said the person responsible for the breaking and entering was caught.

Katie Robiadek, program manager at the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, said Old Town is still developing and the crime rate of stealing and violence has remained the same.

“Active citizens and many organizations in Old Town are working to attract investment and residents after the long years of abandonment by government and residents alike, therefore it still suffers from high crime rates,” she said.

Robiadek said she recalled an incident where a friend was assaulted in Old Town.

“An acquaintance was physically assaulted without cause by patrons of the Unicorn Tavern who were standing on the sidewalk outside the establishment and blocking the public right of way,” she said.  “My acquaintance needed medical attention for the injuries the patrons of the Unicorn Tavern caused him and is still overcoming the horrible emotional toll.”

Yankowski said that Octoberfest, a two-day festival in Old Town (it was held on the Oct. 7 and 8 of this year) has not substantially affected crime rates in the past.

“Old Town remains a great neighborhood to live, work and visit,” said Yankowski. “It’s a great place because of the passion of the citizens and business owners. Those who visit are respectful to the neighborhood. The Old Town Commercial Association has done a great job and LPD has a great working relationship with those in the area.”

“Part of why I feel so safe in Old Town, and why our crime rates have gone down is because the community looks out for each other,” said Schriner-Hooper, who said her first home was in Old Town and that she plans to live there again in the near future. “It truly is a family. Everyone knows each other and cares about the community.”

Robiadek and Schriner-Hooper both said people should still take standard safety precautions while in Old Town.

Robiadek said she had a few ideas about how to make Old Town a safer place.

“My opinion is that more investment needs to be sought to increase the curb appeal in outlying parts of Old Town,” said Robiadek.  “Also, property owners need to be held responsible for the condition of their property.  More new residential housing options would be nice.”


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