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michaelskis

Perception of crime and the

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This past weekend while selling tickets for the Heritage Hill Home Tour a woman from East Grand Rapids mentioned that she is not comfortable coming into

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You've started numerous topics about crime and perception and neighborhood associations in the past. Are you on a neighborhood association that deals with crime and drugs and gangs and all that? Do you find it effective? What do you think should be done to change the perception of crime in GR and do you think it is just a perception or do you think that areas outside of hillmount are unsafe?

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The perception of city and crime going hand and hand is not a stigma which GR suffers from alone. For many American cities, it is a belief people hold. Part of this is sheer ignorance of the public. When the news reports a crime in Grand Rapids most people hear the GR part but fail to note that most often these crimes are usually gang on gang and tend to happen in the spots in the city over and over again. I don't have data to back this up but it seems like the South/Southeast side is the most problematic.

My personal belief is that much of the anti-city ideology which permeates society today is stems from the dire straits many cities endured beginning in the 1950's. So a majority of the population, especially the post war and baby boom generations grew up in the dark ages of urban history; the fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, New York going bankrupt, the race riots in LA, urban renewal, and the wonders of the highway defense act. Younger generations are growing up with a completely different city than that of their parents. For many college aged students like myself who were confined in the suburbs, cities are a growing, vibrant, and exciting place.

Sorry this doesn't really answer your questions but its some food for thought.

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You've started numerous topics about crime and perception and neighborhood associations in the past. Are you on a neighborhood association that deals with crime and drugs and gangs and all that? Do you find it effective? What do you think should be done to change the perception of crime in GR and do you think it is just a perception or do you think that areas outside of hillmount are unsafe?

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I do think that there are some crime issues as you get away from the downtown core, and I think that the people need to start stepping up and trying to improve their world and not tolerating crime.

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I think there are several things to work on. One is called the Broken Windows Theory. It pretty much means that if a place looks run down and inviting to crime it will probably happen there. If a place looks well tended and cared for, then people will not commit crime there.

Another thing to do is find out who your community officer is and talk to them regularly. I talk to ours on Wealthy and he is incredibly helpful.

As far as perceptions go, I think once things come around people's perceptions will change. I think people are more comfortable with what they are used to as far as neighborhoods and people go, and once they get out there and experience different areas they will become more comfortable.

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I think there are several things to work on. One is called the Broken Windows Theory. It pretty much means that if a place looks run down and inviting to crime it will probably happen there. If a place looks well tended and cared for, then people will not commit crime there.

...

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Now I'm not sure how accurate this is, but one of my college professors mentioned how the current police chief, when he was first hired, wanted to decentralize the police department and create a large task force of community officers. He started out with all these ideas of "neighborhood departments" rather than a centralized one downtown (not that that one wouldn't exist, but to a lesser degree). I believe my professor then told us his plans got shot to hell. The public was not cool with having officers visit their homes on occasion even though such community policing programs have worked well in other cities. The public was too scared of the "heavy handed" aspect the program apparently advocated. I also heard that it was shot down due to costs.

I, for one, after hearing about it thought it was a pretty good idea. I tend to like the idea of a community officer showing up once every so often asking how everything is going.

I heard very little has changed for GRPD and things are going along as they always have been: policing from the department HQ and there's only a handful of community officers.

Of course, it's all just what I heard. :dontknow:

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I think there are several things to work on. One is called the Broken Windows Theory. It pretty much means that if a place looks run down and inviting to crime it will probably happen there. If a place looks well tended and cared for, then people will not commit crime there.

Another thing to do is find out who your community officer is and talk to them regularly. I talk to ours on Wealthy and he is incredibly helpful.

As far as perceptions go, I think once things come around people's perceptions will change. I think people are more comfortable with what they are used to as far as neighborhoods and people go, and once they get out there and experience different areas they will become more comfortable.

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Honestly, I bet East Grand Rapids is statistically safer than Heritage Hill. Does anybody have some stats to prove or disprove this? Don't get me wrong, I don't think Heritage Hill is particularly unsafe. I lived there and later just south of it for 3 or 4 years. I know when I was in South Hill there were a lot of breaking and enterings and my roommate's girlfriend's car was stolen twice. So, does the city have higher crime? Probably, yes. Is it dangerous? I don't think so, but good luck changing minds if the statistics are against you.

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Honestly, I bet East Grand Rapids is statistically safer than Heritage Hill. Does anybody have some stats to prove or disprove this? Don't get me wrong, I don't think Heritage Hill is particularly unsafe. I lived there and later just south of it for 3 or 4 years. I know when I was in South Hill there were a lot of breaking and enterings and my roommate's girlfriend's car was stolen twice. So, does the city have higher crime? Probably, yes. Is it dangerous? I don't think so, but good luck changing minds if the statistics are against you.

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I have unfortunately heard similar stories from people who have lived there. I don't know if its the youth demographic or what. Hopefully, the increased development in the central city will trigger a domino affect to the surrounding neighborhoods. It will probably take time though.

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I am just blown away when I hear how people think that downtown is not safe. I think that it is going to take a combination of private and public partnerships working with a everyone from individual residents to neighborhood associations to change this perception. I think that downtown and Heritage Hill are very safe places 99.99% of the time and are no more dangerous than East Grand Rapids. But the perception of the two are night and day.

I don

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I think the perception of being unsafe has more to do with people who are uncomfortable outside of where they live. The unfamiliarity of the people and places of a location makes them nervous. Grand Rapids has crime, but nothing on the scale of a larger city like Chicago or Detroit.

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I would like to see more visible, uniformed foot patrols by police downtown, especially in the evenings.

While I'm not concerned with general safety downtown (lived in Chicago for years), I am highly annoyed by panhandlers and, I admit, it affects my decision whether to go downtown or not. The last four times we've gone downtown in the evening someone has stopped us -- once following us for blocks -- asking for money. My favorite was the yarn about having a cab waiting "over there" willing to take him to Lake City (?) for $16, but he had only six and "just needed another ten." My least favorite was the guy who caught me getting out of my car in the Huntington Bank parking lot, and, sure enough, the car was keyed when I got back.

I can go to Gaslight Village and am not annoyed. Okay, not annoyed in the same way. ;) But a having uniformed officers frequently wandering the Monroe/GRAM/BOB/Ionia area in the evening could increase visitor's perceptions of safety.

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I would like to see more visible, uniformed foot patrols by police downtown, especially in the evenings.

...

I can go to Gaslight Village and am not annoyed. Okay, not annoyed in the same way. ;) But a having uniformed officers frequently wandering the Monroe/GRAM/BOB/Ionia area in the evening could increase visitor's perceptions of safety.

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Now I'm not sure how accurate this is, but one of my college professors mentioned how the current police chief, when he was first hired, wanted to decentralize the police department and create a large task force of community officers. He started out with all these ideas of "neighborhood departments" rather than a centralized one downtown (not that that one wouldn't exist, but to a lesser degree). I believe my professor then told us his plans got shot to hell. The public was not cool with having officers visit their homes on occasion even though such community policing programs have worked well in other cities. The public was too scared of the "heavy handed" aspect the program apparently advocated. I also heard that it was shot down due to costs.

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How can you miss them? Every evening I go DT, I run into Bike Patrol Greg and his partner du jour, officers on foot, cops in cars, on Monroe Center/Four Friends/RPC/GRAM.

Yeah, the guy who keeps asking for cigarettes is annoying. (Do I look like a smoker?) Usually the boys in blue appear just after the panhandler leaves. (That might not be coincidental.)

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The city should invest in closed circuit television in hot spots of crime and all of downtown should have them as well.

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Doesn't downtown have this already? I've seen cameras above the sidewalks in various locations.

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The city should invest in closed circuit television in hot spots of crime and all of downtown should have them as well.

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The city should invest in closed circuit television in hot spots of crime and all of downtown should have them as well.

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Downtown is already heavily surveillance, both by the city and MDot. There's also many private cams about the place. I believe the Metro Council(?) is working at getting everything streamlined so agencies have ability to monitor this network and feed it into a central dispatch.

This also goes way beyond downtown and into the suburbs.

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I think we just illustrated the perception issue! :lol: You see officers all the time, know them by name in fact, so you perceive the police presence to be fine. I apparently look like a sucker and can't go downtown without being hit up for cash, and have yet to see a bike patrol, so I'd like the police presence stepped up. Maybe I need to go DT more often and even out my odds.

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it's always interesting to hear what the suburbanites have to say. they are afraid because of the diversity in race, belief systems, sexual preferences, etc in the urban areas. same goes for why they are leaving grps.

in regards to cpc, they are great because they are the basis for the grass roots efforts of neighborhoods to solve their problems. i understand that heritage hill has really solid cp efforts.

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