LANSING–Part one crime has declined in Lansing since last year, according to statistics from the Lansing Police Department.
Part one crime overall, which consists of homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson, is down about 11 percent from January to June of this year. Although arson and homicide rates have increased, the numbers are a clear sign of improvement for the city.
Officer Robert Merritt, public information officer for the Lansing Police Department, said officers are working harder and smarter this year and the community is giving a lot of feedback.
“Since I’ve been here 22 years, over the last 13 months, I’ve never really seen so much involvement with the community and our officers reaching out,” Merritt said.
There are more than 200 neighborhood watches in Lansing. In the meetings, residents talk about issues they are having in their neighborhoods and ask the police to address it.
“Once we get that involvement and communication and we act on it, it shows that we’re good on our word,” Merritt said. “They’ll work harder for us if we work harder for them.”
Lansing residents have noticed a decline in the amount of thefts in some neighborhoods and were relieved to hear that their city was safer.
“I do think crime is a big issue in Lansing,” resident Tina H. said. “ Someone tried to steal gas from my car once, but I had no gas to steal. I live in kind of a crappy neighborhood so I see it often, but I have noticed it’s gone down a bit.”
Other residents choose to avoid certain areas they know are prone to more crimes and stick to areas that they know are safer.
“I live in a nice neighborhood where not much happens, but I stay away from the bad parts of town,” Lansing resident Steven said. “I don’t go down the south side of the city.”
The police department has proactive plans to make Lansing a safer community, with problem solving being their main form of action. They set up teams of five or six officers and a command officer to focus on one area and look for specific crimes.
Chief of Police, Teresa Syzmanski, is trying to get Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety, also known as DDACTS, approved for the city. It uses location based crime and traffic data to create an effective method for identifying areas that need more officers.
“We are always looking at different angles to make sure that we have got the proper resources and that’s the officers in the right locations so they’re just not our patrolling an area where maybe we don’t have as much problems.” Merritt said.
Merritt hopes that the addition of DDACTS along with other strategies and the involvement of the community will continue to keep crime down in Lansing and make it a safer place.