By Tom Travis
In the wake of three homicides in Flint over the weekend, Mayor Sheldon Neeley announced at press conference Monday that he is launching bi-weekly updates on the state of crime in the city. Neeley also announced that all city parks will now close at 9 p.m. in an effort to bring down crime.
Over the weekend three people were killed in two separate incidents. Two homicides occurred in Broome Park on Flint’s south side (the park is located south of 12th Street and north of Atherton Road). A large gathering was in the park when six people were shot; two died. Another shooting occurred near the north side of Mott Community College campus on Robert T. Longway and Franklin Avenues. Two people were shot at that location; one has died.
Arrests made, warrants filed, vehicles and guns confiscated, according to Sgt. Tyrone Booth
Sgt. Tyrone Booth of the Flint Police Department noted efforts of the department toward reducing gun violence.
“We have stepped up patrols, have more police personnel available to deal with calls as they came in and to deal with some of those hot spots in the City of Flint,” Booth said.
“We have launched initiatives on vehicles hanging out and loitering in parking lots. The spin outs and burn outs which also lead to criminal activity.
Booth detailed that “In the time since these initiatives have been put in place we have towed 20 vehicles, made two for carrying a concealed weapon made a concealed weapon warrant, recovered 11 firearms, made 70 felony arrests, made four misdemeanor arrests, one felony warrant arrest, two traffic arrests, five citations issued for traffic related offenses. We are serious about vehicles being parked in parking lots and speeding on the streets.”
He added, “This weekend there was a lot of activity in the area of Clio and Pasadena roads and we had crews there dealing with it. Arrests were made and several guns were taken. We will continue our stepped up patrols.”
Mayor declared “state of emergency” and issued executive orders to combat gun violence
In a July 23 press conference, Neeley announced he was declaring a “state of emergency” in the city due to the wave of gun violence. Police Chief Terence Green noted there had not been any homicides in two weeks within the city.
“Families are being devastated by gun violence and it poses a serious threat to the health and quality of life of all residents. Whenever a life is cut short, especially to gun violence, our whole community suffers, Mayor Neeley said.
“This State of Emergency Due to Gun Violence will allow us to combat this crisis in our city. “It will take a united effort to save our village and with thorough strategy we will meet that challenge. This state of emergency is a pathway to continue the needed aggressive efforts, and we will do more if necessary.
“There is much work to be done, but we must continue this work to safeguard our community and our families. I pray for the victims, their families, and our community,” Neeley stated in a press release.
In that July 23 press conference Mayor Neeley announced six executive orders to combat gun violence, as follows:
- Establish the Emergency Response Team (ERT) for Traumatic Events and Coordinate Services between the Flint Police Department and Mental Health Professionals to serve the community.
- Establish Partnerships with Grass Roots and Community Outreach Programs to Combat Gun Violence.
- Establish Partnerships Throughout the Community to Create Opportunities for Positive Engagement for Youth.
- Provide Financial Incentives to Certified Officers in Good Standing for Gun Violence Prevention.
- Hire Dedicated Attorneys and Victim Advocates to Partner with Flint Police Department on Gun Violence Prevention.
- Creation of Crime Suppression Grants for Small Businesses.
Willie Smith, vice president of the North Flint Neighborhood Action Council, said that that organization is working on training and preparing residents to have their own crime watch. Groups will receive $1,500 in crime watch intervention tools. Smith invited block clubs to contact him at 810-221-3722 if interested.
“Day camp provides wholesome community-wide activities that not only foster safety and awareness but also hope” Pastor Chris Martin says
Pastor Chris Martin of the Cathedral of Faith Church, located in the 1st Ward, reported on a community day camp his church is offering. It will operates Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 2-27. Martin said he is seeking to extend funding so the day camp can continue as an after school program during the rest of the academic year.
Kids ages 6 to 16 will receive a free breakfast and lunch and participate in recreational, enrichment, and intramural sports activities. Parents can show up to the church any day the camp is in operation to register their children for the camp. For more information, Pastor Martin can be reached at (810)938-5575.
Martin told EVM there will be day trips available for the day camp participants trips to the Saginaw Zoo, bowling, and a day at Michigan Adventures amusement park. There are about 50 students enrolled, according to Martin.
Martin, on a phone call after Monday’s press conference, told EVM the day camp has operated for 10 years but was unable to be offered last year due to the pandemic. The day camp is a partnership with Cathedral of Faith Church, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, and The City of Flint, with funding from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and the United Way of Genesee County.
Martin pleaded calling for “a cease fire”
“I am calling for a cease fire,” Martin pleaded in Monday’s press conference. “We need to lower the temperature in our community as it pertains to gun violence. These gun violence incidences are not ‘random incidents.’ What we are finding is that these crimes are targeted with people who are having social problems with one another.
“As clergy we are trying to get more people to be more spiritual because that’s what’s needed. We’re not politicians — we are spiritual leaders.” Martin said he believes if “the temperature is lowered in families” it will “eradicate” crime and gun violence.
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.