LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Lansing Police Department says since 2016, there has been an increase in homicides in the city but a majority of them have been solved. The numbers also show drug overdoses were on the rise.
In 2017, there were 13 homicides and to date, three of those cases remain unsolved.
While that number is average compared to previous years, Lansing’s police chief says one homicide is too many.
“2017 was again another year where we saw a real big focus on violent crime,” said Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski.
Chief Yankowski says of the 13 homicides last year, the department saw a rise in domestic violence and mental illness. But the most significant factor LPD reports is the number of shootings since the city’s “Violent Crime Initiative” came into play.
“When we started this in 2013, we were having over 200 shootings a year in the city. We end at 2017 with 115,” Chief Yankowski stated.
That’s a 43 percent drop in four years, specifically 26 percent just last year.
But that’s not the only milestone for Lansing police. Chief Yankowski says the city saw fewer opioid and heroin related deaths in 2017.
“At this point and time, we have 19 fatalities compared to 21 in 2016,” said Chief Yankowski.
Meanwhile, Lansing police saw a boost in overdoses. The chief says there were 240 overdoses in 2017 compared to 145 in 2016.
Regardless of the crime, Chief Yankowski says cooperation from the community can help law enforcement crack a case much faster.
“This is a community effort, it’s not a silo of the Lansing Police Department, it’s that everyone in the community plays a role in helping us solve crimes,” said Chief Yankowski.
Chief Yankowski says the Lansing Police Department has expanded its partnership with the Michigan State Police and federal law enforcement.
He says LPD isn’t necessarily working harder, but working smarter with the intelligence by embedding FBI and ATF officials into the police department.