‘It’s the No. 1 priority in the City’ : Mayor, Chief weigh in on Lansing’s gun violence problem

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The city’s 23rd homicide of the year happened Monday night when a 34-year-old man was shot and killed.

That’s the most ever in a year and there’s still more than 2 months to go.

Both Mayor Andy Schor and Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee were frank, saying the problems with violence are multi-faceted.

They say it’s not just as simple as bad people, it’s young people not thinking of consequences. It’s violent retaliation and poor conflict resolution.

According to Sosebee and Schor, what put this year over the edge are the guns.

“One homicide is too many, 23 for this year is, is extremely alarming and very concerning,” Sosebee said. “Gun violence is, is topping the charts and this been the largest cause of homicide in the city this year.”

Almost two dozen dead, the vast majority from guns according the Lansing’s top cop.

That’s where Mayor Andy Schor says changes need to be made.

“I’m frustrated at the number of guns in the street, I’m frustrated at people using guns to take out their anger,” Schor said. “This is happening in Lansing and all over the country.”

The mayor listed a few things the city is already doing, like re-opening community centers, getting involved with neighborhood groups, and then there’s VCI.

“Our violent crime initiative has seized upwards of 460 guns,” Sosebee said. “That’s up from 382 last year and there’s still two months to go.”

Some other efforts have stalled, like a $180,000 initiative called ‘advanced peace’ that would have been used to combat violence. The money was pulled because not enough groups applied for the grant, Schor says.

While every little bit helps, it’s still not enough.

“That’s not going to solve the problem in 20 days or 30 days,” Schor said. “We’re not going to see anything at least for a year once that starts.”

As for Chief Sosebee, he says law enforcement will continue to work together in hopes of reducing the violence.

“I just got off the phone with the sheriff Sheriff’s Scott Wriggelsworth, we are going to meet in the next day or so,” Sosebee said. “Just push the needle a little bit in our direction, uh, in favor of us to get that, to get the heading in the right direction.”

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