Crime in Lansing: An Every-Day Reality

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By Emma-Jean Bedford
Listen Up, Lansing

LANSING-Armed robberies. Break-ins. Aggravated assault. These are, unfortunately, common terms that Lansing residents deal with everyday.

According to a report by Neighborhood Scout compiled from government records, Lansing is safer than just 10 percent of cities in the U.S. with 142 crimes per square mile, compared with the national rate of 37.9 crimes per square mile.

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Map provided by Neighborhood Scout report and FBI data. 

Adelina Joslin is originally from Guatemala City, but relocated to the Lansing area two years ago after moving from Florida. Her first impression of Lansing became a negative experience when her car was broken into.

“The police didn’t do anything. They told me it was a normal crime and that this happens in the city. I just don’t think that’s a way to handle it,” Joslin said.

Lansing Police Public Information Officer Robert Merritt said that each case has a solvability factor. Solvability factors include leads such as witnesses to a crime, description of a suspect, and physical evidence.

“If it gets to the point where we have exhausted all of our solvability factors, then the case goes cold. My house was broken into and the case went cold. Her car was broken into and the case went cold. We treat all of our victims equally. Whether it be a stolen pack of gum at Kmart or an assault. All uniform officers respond to every crime,” Merritt said.

According to the report, Lansing has one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the nation. The chance of getting your car stolen is one in 313. This is compared to the national rate of one in 351, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Other common types of crime consist of armed robbery, aggravated assault, and forcible rape. The chance of becoming a victim in one of these crimes in Lansing is one in 94, according to the report based on FBI data.

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The most recent data from 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shows that violent crime and property crime have both increased from 2012.

“The economy has gone down and the auto industries are shutting down, so there’s not enough jobs. That’s how people get into crime in the first place,” Lansing resident Jay Carapellucci said.

Fortunately, the Lansing unemployment rate has been steadily decreasing. According to the Department of Numbers the unemployment rate in April of 2014 was 6.3 percent, compared to 4.9 percent in December of 2014.

According to multiple Lansing residents, the south side of Lansing is the most run down.

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Merritt believes it is currently growing residentially and changing for the better.

“The south side is starting to become more developed and business is starting to gain ground. People are starting to buy again in the area,” Merritt said.

Carapellucci also manages to stay positive regarding safety in the greater Lansing area.

“There’s talk of a casino going in downtown Lansing and if that happens I think the economy is going to jump up,” Carapellucci said.

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