Deaths Prompt Neighborhood Change

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Their presence was as strong as their voices Friday night; at a meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in west Lansing, homeowners of Lansing's Genesee Neighborhood told the police they're tired of drugs deals in their front yards and violence on their streets.

There have been two deaths in the area in the past week-- one, a murder; the other, unsolved. One neighbor spoke candidly to News 10 about her experiences living in the area, but asked her identity not be given because she's often threatened by drug dealers.

"I see drug deals taking place, I see prostitutes looking for johns, I have people coming up to my car at stoplights to sell drugs," she says.

In response to the deaths-- and the pervasive drug presence-- police have proposed a plan to limit traffic between Saginaw and Lapeer streets, and between Pine and Sycamore streets. Police blame drugs for the area's demise and they say cutting off access to the streets will cut off the crime. But not everyone is sold on this new plan.

"You mean to tell me building [a barries] is going to keep the dealers out? If they want to come, they're going to come," argues one neighbor.

"A lot of this is frustration," says city councilwoman Carol Wood, as she explains the years-long process cleaning up this area has been.

The police and the homeowners exchanged ideas, some heated at times, and the end result of the town meeting was a bit blurry. But what was clear was the neighborhood's need for change.

"My children can't go outside and play. This is no way for our children to live," says the woman whose identity is being withheld.

Some homeowners suggested creating permanent cul-de-sacs to completely cut off access. Others say increasing beat cops is another avenue. Whichever the choice, the woman says it's a start-- a start to something with a distant end in sight.


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