Crime-prevention efforts focus attention on Flint

Associated Press
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Flint — Efforts to prevent crime in Flint and revitalize the city are focusing on the University Avenue corridor that stretches between two universities and two hospitals.

Researchers have begun the first phase of the project using a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, The Flint Journal reports. They’re identifying crime hot spots, collecting crime data and environmental data, working with police and encouraging community involvement.

“It’s really looking at what’s driving this crime and looking at the strategies that are proven to work in other areas of the country. That’s the idea,” said Lynda Berge, interim project manager for the grant. “We all know that arresting people and putting them in jail only gets us more people in jail. It doesn’t really help the neighborhood.”

The plan is to come up with recommendations to reduce crime and eliminate blight, and the process could be replicated in other parts of the city and in other communities.

“One of the purposes … is to develop new practices and models that can be deployed in other areas, but we have to see how much we can get out of this first million-dollar investment and what can be replicated with or without additional grant funding,” Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said.

According to police, hundreds of crimes were committed in the University Avenue corridor in 2014.

The project is a collaborative effort involving Kettering University, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan-Flint, and East Lansing-based Michigan State University. Flint police, state police and police at the University of Michigan-Flint are involved a part of the effort.

Researchers have identified five crime hot spots. The research phase, which is set to go through April, focuses on assaults, burglary and robbery in those areas. Researchers will examine environmental issues such as lighting, vacant land and vacant property, among other factors.

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