Larceny confounds Old Town's low crime rate

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By Anya Rath Staff Writer

Old Town, Lansing is an area of relative peace with the exception of several cases of larceny.

Data from the Lansing Police Department (LPD) shows that the crime rate in Old Town has been on a steady decline since 2008. There have only been 11 reported incidents in 2013, thus far.

Data from Lansing Police Department.

Data from Lansing Police Department.

Public Information Officer Robert Merritt, of the LPD, said Old Town is a close and small little community within itself and that communication among business owners and the residents is non-stop.

Merritt said: “Suspects of crime look for weak points to carry out their acts. Old Town does not really have any weak points or open areas for suspects to strike.”

David Gregware, the owner of Talullah’s Folly, a business in Old Town, agrees that the low crime rates is due to a community effort.

“It really has to be attributed to the tenants and the business owners,” Gregware said. “They call every time they see something.”

Gregware said that, in his opinion, the biggest crime problem in Old Town is panhandling.

Ashley Lamb, the manager of Lamb’s Gate Antiques, another business in Old Town, said she feels safe when she leaves her shop at night. She said that this is due to the restaurants that are still open across the street.

However, Lamb has had a few problems with larceny- also known as shoplifting. Larceny is the one type of crime that has not shown a decline according to the Old Town Area Type A Incidents Report for 2008 through April 2013.

“We’ve had a few little issues of things being taken from our store,” Lamb said. “We have noticed two little things missing in the last two weeks. In small business, every penny counts.”

Lambs' Gate Antiques has been a recent victim of shoplifting.  Photo Credit: Santiago Montiel

Lambs’ Gate Antiques has been a recent victim of shoplifting.
Photo Credit: Santiago Montiel

Lamb said that that the business community in Old Town helps each other whenever they can.

“One of my neighbors called me the other day with a lost item. She believed somebody had walked out with it. A few weeks later, I found it in my shop with the tag still on it. Working with our fellow businesses on our own, we’ve been able to recover things and keep crime down,” Lamb said.

Lamb added that shoplifting is a very common issue in stores that sell a vast variety of goods.

“Every neighborhood is a work in progress,” Lamb said. “We’re not going to totally eliminate dishonesty and crime. I think overall the neighborhood is on the right track. We have a good network of businesses.”

Merritt agrees that community interaction is essential.

“Community awareness and action along with business cooperation will keep crime low,” Merritt said. “Not only in Old Town but for other areas.”

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