Lansing Mayoral candidates on crime rates and city’s 22nd homicide

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 8:46 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Violent crime rates have been rising in cities across Michigan, with Lansing adding to these numbers. So far this year Lansing has had 22 homicides with the latest occurring over the weekend.

Lansing’s next mayor will be faced with the rising homicide rate which has made a drastic spike in homicide over the past few years.

In 2016 Lansing saw only 11 homicide deaths. That number jumped to 21 in 2020-- four more than any other year in that span. Now, in 2021 Lansing has seen 22 homicide deaths and there are still two months left in the year.

Mayor Andy Schor has put programs in place to try to reverse this alarming trend.

“Between prevention, reform and enforcement, and then adding to that we’ve got our violent crime unit which is taking hundreds of guns off the street which is important to make sure that we can get them out of the hands of those that would cause crimes,” said Mayor Schor.

Mayor Schor’s administration has worked with groups like Mikey 23 and Turning Point to improve the lives of Lansing’s youth and prevent future crimes. Mayor Schor says that if he were to be re-elected working with law enforcement would remain an important priority.

“We’re putting more enforcement out on the street. We’ve got more police officers and we’ve authorized five more, and we’ve had ten more in my first term authorized for them to be out. And making sure that they’re getting to situations before they escalate,” said Schor.

His opponent, Kathie Dunbar, has spent 16 years on the Lansing City Council and the ideas she’d implement if elected would focus on gun violence prevention. Like Mayor Schor, Dunbar believes youth prevention is important and should be a focus when addressing crime.

“We have got to do something... and street-level violence interruption programs are the way to go,” said Dunbar.

Dunbar also says that these intervention programs should provide conflict resolution training and trauma counseling to address violence within the community.

“We know from studies what types of interventions work -- and they are not necessarily police interventions. There was the Advance Police Initiative which was fully funded by the Council and by the county this year- which was supposed to be implemented already,” said Dunbar.

Mayor Schor has made it a focus of his administration to increase the resources police have to work with. Dunbar however, believes that there’s still more to be done with the Police Department, She feels that there should be more focus placed on spotting warning signs of potential crimes, especially with social media.

“If there was a concerted effort to use social media... to track these... there would be an idea and a more concerted effort by the police department to get involved... that being said the police department is not doing much,”

Despite her criticism, Dunbar joins Mayor Schor in saying that she will work with the department to find solutions. Both candidates say they want to increase the number of resources available to them to help get homicide rates under control.

The Lansing Mayoral election is next Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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