LANSING, Mich, (WLNS) – New crime stats released by the FBI show homicides, assaults and shootings were up nationwide in 2020. Detroit was listed as the second most violent city in the US per capita. Roughly 44% of the state’s homicides happened in the motor city. Another Michigan city that ranked 9th in the nation in violent crimes was Lansing.
“These cases live weeks, months, sometimes a year that cops are embedded with the families survivors trying to get them justice,” said Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth.
Wrigglesworth says he expected the data to show an increase.
“I think violent crimes that were up were 6 or 7 percent. Property crimes were down so people reacting without thinking and not thinking about the life-long consequences, to me really resonates with one of the reasons we kind of live in a reactionary society now, and people need to pause and think about what they are going to do before they do it, and all too often people are choosing to pull the trigger now. There’s a tragedy at the other end of that.”
According to the FBI crime stats, homicides increased by 31% in Michigan.
This marks the largest jump since the FBI started to keep records in more than 3 decades.
Sheriff Wigglesworth says most of the time these deaths start with small disagreements.
“We need to find ways to reduce this violent crime and first and foremost that goes to people thinking about their consequences, their actions before they act, don’t just react, and simply just walk away sometimes.”
“The violence and aggression seems to increase not just along with everybody in the community but you’re talking about people who already had a history of violence that violence seems to be escalating,” said Jose Carerra, the Cristo Rey Community Services Counseling Director.
He says the numbers are not surprising and believes the pandemic made things worse.
“Lack of jobs or financial insecurity, the housing insecurity, health insecurity you name it… It goes down to people continue to escalate behavior to the point they are escalating to point they are committing crimes,” he said.
Carerra says a lack of mental health services and isolation can cause extreme anxiety and even rage.
He says the fact many people have been unable to get face-to-face treatment could be another reason the numbers are so high.
“I think people are giving a message that they are being attacked, or that they are under attack not is surprising when you’re looking at the purchase of guns for example. I think that guns were sold last year at the highest rate they have ever been sold, that doesn’t mean that they are being used necessarily but it tells you that people are feeling really uncomfortable, and they are feeling unsafe. When people feel under attack they start to respond with more aggression.”
Carerra and sheriff Wigglesworth say the stats for this year don’t look any better.
The FBI crime report collects data from agencies all across the country. But this year, about 15% of law enforcement organizations did not take park in the report.