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Homicides are up in Lansing

Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 5:46 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The number of homicides in Lansing in 2020 has nearly doubled since 2019.

The increase in violent crime in Lansing this year was the last straw for Logan Maxey and Michael Gardenhouse.

They live in the Potter-Walsh neighborhood and have decided to move out.

“It’s definitely been getting worse as the years go on,” said Gardenhouse. “I’m not at all okay with it. Do I have to deal with it? Yeah. But I’m definitely moving out as soon as I can.”

As of Wednesday, there have been 20 homicides this year. The latest happened just down the street from where they live.

“I feel like the city probably needs to get back under control,” said Maxey.

And, it’s not just homicides. In a December community “Call to Action” meeting, Chief Daryl Green said there have also been more aggravated assaults and other violent crimes in 2020.

The department’s Violent Crime Initiative, which uses data to target hot-spots in the city, seized more than 140 illegal guns, which is up from 108 last year.

On top of the Violent Crime initiative, one of the biggest tools the force is trying to use against this violence are community police officers who walk and bike the streets daily.

Officer Anthony VanderVoorde, known as Officer Vandy in the neighborhood, is one of eleven community police officers.

“There’s a difference between a patrol and community policing. Now on patrol, we drive through the neighborhoods, we wave to people, you know we’re still cordial. But as a community service officer, I get to talk to people more,” he said. “I have more time to actually listen to their concerns and their issues inside their neighborhood. And I have a better way, you know, it gives me more of an opportunity to help them and to improve their quality of life and to reduce the fear of crime in their community.”

VanderVoorde says they’re constantly making connections so when crime happens they can get answers because people know and trust them.

“When we have incidents inside the neighborhood, such as the homicides or some of these serious critical incidences, we’ll do community engagement walks,” he said. “When you build that rapport or that bond with the partnership that we have with a lot of our community members, it really helps with the communication and the trust factor.”

Of the 20 homicides this year, Lansing Police says five are still unsolved. They hope community policing will help reduce that number. Officers say they need the community’s help.

LPD is asking people to register their home or business cameras with their department, start or join neighborhood watch groups, and send in tips.

Normally 40 community engagements are done throughout the year, where officers go door-to-door in neighborhoods. Because of the pandemic, that’s gone down by 20-percent.

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