Grand Rapids Crime Decreases Overall; Murder Goes Up

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-23 18:25:06-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kevin Belk, chief of police for Grand Rapids, presented crime statistics for the first six months of 2013, at Tuesday’s public safety committee meeting.

“[I’m] very pleased to say that crime is down in Grand Rapids,” Belk said.

From January to June of this year, the city saw 6 murders. For the same time period in 2012, there were 4 murders. Forty rapes were reported the first half of this year. Thirty-two rapes were reported for the same time frame. Those numbers are up.

However, other “part one” offenses, which are considered more serious crimes, are down across the board by 12.6 percent. Part two offenses (less serious crimes) like embezzlement, prostitution, and fraud are down by 11.4 percent.

Belk attributed the overall drop to a combination of factors. For one, he said the first six months of 2012 was unseasonably warm. That may have brought about more criminal activity. That means this year’s colder temperatures may have normalized the numbers for the first few months.

“After school programs, I think are very significant. We’ve had a decade of very good after school programs in Grand Rapids,” Belk said.

“I think partnering with communities, the neighborhood associations getting people involved, some of the revitalization.

“The return of owner-occupied homes I think is significant there.

“The quality work that I think our men and women of the police department have done, focusing our limited resources on what we consider are hot spots, or if you will, areas that have been over represent in crime,” Belk concluded.

The department also plans to have its first officer recruiting class soon since 2009.