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GRPD chief: Most homicides solved this year, but uptick in gun violence is concerning

Posted at 3:42 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 13:08:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne says the department has solved 80% of homicides so far this year.

The city has seen 22 homicides so far this year – more than the 17 that happened in all of 2019, according to the GRPD on Thursday.

“Our solve rate and this recent arrest are a testament to the work our officers continue to do in our community and our commitment to holding criminals accountable,” Payne said. “We need to continue to work together as a community and build on mutual trust and respect so we can prevent and solve crimes together.”

Payne emphasized his concern about the increase in gun violence this year, saying it’s the reason he’s implementing neighborhood-based policing and stepping up patrol efforts.

Gunfire incidents through June this year totaled 474, which is more than half of 2019’s total of 871.

Last year’s gunfire total was the highest since 2015 – the first year of data on GRPD’s dashboard.

It was 28% higher than 2018.

“Much of the gun violence we are seeing is the result of inter-group conflict – individuals who are seeking street justice against someone they have had a prior confrontation with,” Payne said. “In other words, these crimes are not just random.”

GRPD’s three-year strategic plan released last month emphasizes public safety through programs like a neighborhood-based policing model and Cure Violence.

Cure Violence helps address systemic issues in historically marginalized neighborhoods, which often include challenges tied to socio-economic conditions.