Governor Rick Snyder shared key points today from his plan to fight crime in Michigan. The press conference was held in Flint, which is on the nation's top ten list for highest violent crime rates. Currently, there are four Michigan cities that are in the top ten list: Flint, Detroit, Saginaw, and Pontiac. Lack of employment and police shortage are a large part of the issue; however, crime had been an issue before the unemployment and police cutbacks started twelve years ago.
In Governor Snyder's press release, he said, "By moving forward with a system of 'smart justice,' we will hold chronic offenders accountable for their actions, bring peace of mind to community residents, help to break the cycles that perpetuate crime, and unleash Michigan's economic growth."
Snyder's approach has three major elements:
- Fire and first responders
- Secure cities partnership with Michigan State Police
- Removing abandoned buildings
Prevention: Youth Programs
- New paths for young people
- and Legislation to address human trafficking
Support for Certain Offender Groups
- Drug Court
- Mental Health Court
- and Prosecutorial support
The majority of these programs will be focused on high-crime areas around the worst cities in Michigan. Michigan is likely to see an increase in the use of social workers, truant officers, and case management workers. Increase in law enforcement was not emphasized in Governor Snyder's outline. The Smart Justice plan sounds like a reasonable long-term approach. In the meantime, law enforcement is still very necessary.
Photo of Governor Rick Snyder: www.michigan.gov
Â© Les Go, March 2012