Lansing Increasing Curfew Enforcement in Wake of Teen Shooting Deaths

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Teenagers in Lansing will need to start paying attention to the time. After the shooting deaths of two teens in just a month, enforcing the city's curfew is about to be a top priority in Lansing.

Police say the curfew is nothing new, but officers will now be actively looking for teens breaking curfew.

Those teens will either be cited, taken to police headquarters or taken home. In all three cases, a parent or guardian will be involved and police say that's the key here. They want parents and the community to be vested in making a change.

Throughout Lansing, 16-year-old Levon Wilson, who was shot and killed early Sunday, has become a driving force in a growing call for the violence to end.

"It just hurts, it just hurts everybody," Ricky Darnell, Wilson's Uncle said. "They didn't just hurt me, his mom, his dad, they hurt hundreds of people that Levon impacted in their life."

Darnell never imagined he'd lose Wilson so suddenly, but after a party turned drive-by shooting the reality is hitting hard.

"I'm angry, I'm really angry," he said. "Just a bunch of cowards, little boys who don't know how to be real men, that's all it is."

Wilson's death and that of 17-year-old Denzel Moss last month has spurred the City of Lansing into action.

"Young people are settling scores using guns, what used to be a fight behind the school or neighborhood is now a gun fight and obviously tragic results and really unacceptable," Mayor Virg Bernero said.

Police believe getting parents involved and teens off the street will help curb that behavior.

"We're not saying that they are commiting crimes, we just don't what them to have the possiblity of being involved," Public Information Officer Robert Merritt, with Lansing Police said.

Under city code, anyone 12 and under must be home from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The curfew is midnight for those 13-16.

Lansing is also rolling out a gun buy back program, hoping to get handguns off the streets.

"Some of the crimes that happen out there are with guns that people steal," Merritt explained.

"We believe that we can make a significant dent judging form what's been done in other cities," Bernero added. "The Chief of Police and the department is working on the details of that program as we speak."

Wilson's family is hopeful the move will save others, though it comes too late for them.

"Still ain't going to bring my nephew back, still ain't going to bring him back," Darnell said.

Bernero says the gun buy back will cost between $20,000 and $50,000 to run. He says the program will accept handguns, no questions asked. Just today, the city raised $6,00 toward the effort.

Wilson's family has begun a T-shirt fundraiser to help off set funeral expenses. Details of the effort can be found on facebook.

Visitation for Wilson will be Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Chapel in the Pines Funeral Home.


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