Metro Lansing Crime

edited July 2008 in Regional
I thought it'd be important to track some of more major crime stories in the area, since crime pretty directly relates to local economic development. As of today, the City of Lansing is up to at least six homicides, and possibly eight if the LPD can figure out where one of the two happened, and for the other whether it was a homicide or not.

While overall crime is down from the year before, so is the population. Lansing's been fortunate to have kept crime down despite problems that plague very similar industrial cities, but I've noticed that the criminals are getting bolder. We've had two or so drive-bys which fortunately haven't resulted in any injuries or death, but we just don't have drive-bys in Lansing like this.

Anyway, the latest murder:

Lansing Police Investigate Homicide

Derek Wallbank and Kevin Grasha • and • July 22, 2008 • From

UPDATED 5:05 PM - A 32-year-old Lansing man was found dead inside an apartment at 212 W. Barnes St. about 9:30 p.m. Monday in what police said is an apparent homicide.

The victim, Jason Kenneth Cook, was found in the upstairs of a single family home that was converted to upstairs and downstairs apartments.

“I’m just lost and miserable,” said the victim’s wife, Tera Cook, 35. “He was amazing with his kids. All he wanted to do was work hard enough to own a business and leave something behind for them.”

Jason Cook leaves behind three children ages 5, 9 and 10.



  • Although there have been six homicides, I don't think that it really says anything negative about the Lansing area. I remember back in 2004 when there were five homicides or so in East Lansing. A suspect has been arrested in connection with the drive-bys and I think that makes a statement itself for the police of Lansing doing a pretty good job. Another suspect has been arrested in connection with the murder in the "back 40".

    What would be more telling would be to see how many of the homicides are eventually found to be random, or if the victims knew the assailants. Also, how many go unsolved.
  • edited July 2008
    Random murder is very rare in Lansing, and while it's important to make that distinction, it's also important to note that though Lansing's population is falling, the murder count is remaining pretty much the same, and in fact creeping up. We're already at 6 (or 8) murders, and could probably end the year on 10-12, which would be relatively high from years past (taking into account the outlier serial killer last summer, of course). Violent crime is down quite a bit from the late 80's/early 90's, but it still seems to be creeping up from the beginning of this decade.

    I don't know, I'm just sensing and overall pick-up in boldness to crimes that I haven't seen in awhile, and it worries me because it only takes a few years for a city like this to go the route of Saginaw or Flint if it's not kept in check.
  • I agree. Hard part is that when the people leave with the tax dollars, they have to start yanking officers off the streets. I dont know for sure but I am pretty sure that the rate of officers is severly deficient in Lansing and this stretches resources. There were shots fired about two weeks ago at a local bar and it took 45 minutes for a response bc the 911 calls came after officers were dispatched to large fights at two seperate bars downtown.

    I dont think we are in panic mode, but I feel like the Mayor really should have tried to spend that money to employ a few more officers rather than buy some cameras.
  • edited July 2008
    We are not "severly deficient" when it comes to officers as compared to other Michigan cities, but we are ever so slightly below the average number of patrol officers per citizen. The last three or four years, specifically, have been the most severe, economically, for Michigan. There is supposed to be light at the end of the tunnel by the end of 2009, accoding to some Michigan economists, and hopefully that holds true.

    Yeah, I thought the cameras are a waste of money. I also oppose them for privacy reasons, but if we were in a better position, financially, I might have bent on the issue. That we aren't in as good a financial situation as we should be the camera idea was an instant non-starter, for me.

    I hope that we're seeing the bottom, this year, and that this is just a result of losing thousands of manufacturing jobs in the region over the past few years, because I'm not so much convinced that the crime is so much a result of the police department as it is the ups and downs of the economy.

    Uptown, the shooting was at the Caddy (Cadillac) Club, wasn't it? That is a whole other issue I could go off on, as controversial as it is.
  • I do see a recent trend in crime in Lansing, but I'm not sure where it's headed. I followed crime in Lansing very closely for awhile, but not so much anymore, but I do still listen to a police scanner regularly. And with that said the police do seem busier and more often struggle to keep up even with the "priority" calls. I'm not too concerned at this point but its easy for crime to spiral out of control, so I hope they are watching out for any developing trends.
  • edited July 2008
    First off -- this site would be a lot more useful if folks could cite or link to publications or statistics when making statements about trends (e.g. whether crime in Lansing is going up or down). It drives me batty when people rely on uninformed / anecdotal observations as a means to make a statement or hypothesis about an entire city. Crime is a great example of an instance when its easy to do ourselves and our city a disservice --as folks interested in urbanity and in seeing Lansing succeed, we should be careful not to perpetuate outdated urban stereotypes (e.g. "cities are criminal, dangerous places to avoid") that are based more on myth than fact.

    But enough about that.

    I think the bigger questions are related to how crime in Lansing compares to other similar sized cities, and also how it compares to the rest of the region. Lmich, I agree that the recent homicides are worthy of concern -- it scares the crap out of me to read about things like Jason Cook's death or the double homicide on Prospect a few months ago. I too hope that we're seeing the result of hard economic times -- perhaps its worth looking at how other Michigan cities are doing as a comparison.
  • edited July 2008
    Oh, do not paint me as one of those folks trying to perpetuate the idea of "crime-infested cities", or believe I'm just some ignoramus pulling this stuff out of my @ss. I do realize the danger in discussing crime in the first place, because of perception. I regularly get on folks that are stupid enough to think that say stepping into Detroit will get a visitor/tourist murdered.

    That said, discussing the boldness of crimes in any given year is a subjective and anecdotal topic, and that's what I was getting at. More importantly, I think the people that make it to this particular board are adult enough and educated enough to discuss and handle such controversial topics. They are, to say, smarter than the average bear. This isn't some LSJ-type board which seems to pull out the most vile racists, ignoramuses, and assorted bigots.

    Lastly, while I do think it's important to compare Lansing with other similar-sized cities, I think it even more important to compare Lansing to its past years. Just because a similar-sized city like Flint has a sky-high crime rate doesn't make it a good comparison for Lansing on almost any level for some obvious reasons.

    I will try and find more crime stats, though, in making my cases.

    BTW, perhaps I should have credited this earlier, but at least compared to the first half of last year, violent crime in Lansing (at least for the first half of the year, so far) is down. I'm very careful about comparing things to last year considering the strange crime year we had last year:

    Serious crime in Lansing drops in '08
  • edited January 2009
    BTW, here is some Lansing crime data for the last few years courtesy of, which I assume uses the official FBI data. I've added in some of the data they missed, specifically for the years 2002 and 2007:

    Violent Crime per 100,000 residents

    01: 1,130
    03: 1,026
    04: 990
    05: 1,202
    06: 1,018
    07: 1,240


    00: 14
    01: 8
    02: 11
    03: 8
    04: 10
    05: 8
    06: 8
    07: 15
    08: 10 (officially, 1 under investigation, body found in river in January, no one is sure if he was killed in Lansing)


    00: 120
    01: 178
    02: 169
    03: 164
    04: 110
    05: 115
    06: 105
    07: 91


    00: 171
    01: 227
    02: 245
    03: 208
    04: 229
    05: 254
    06: 262
    07: 268

    Aggravated Assault

    00: 914
    01: 940
    02: 867
    03: 840
    04: 827
    05: 1,030
    06: 800
    07: 866
  • Whoa, Lmich. My apologies -- we seem to be having a misunderstanding here. Let's try again. I actually think we're on the same page. Heck, reading this forum, I have a lot of respect for your knowledge and insight. I'll try to be less of an @ss and a bit more positive/constructive.

    1. I wasn't trying to insinuate that you're an ignoramus, nor was I trying to point to your posts as being representative of the "myth of crime infested cities". After all, you're a frequent poster on a boosterish/pro-development site for a small, underdeveloped rustbelt city. If you wanted to play the "cities suck" line, you wouldn't be here.

    2. I don't have a problem with your thread -- I actually agree that it is a very relevant topic to economic development. I was reacting to other posts, ones based purely on conjecture or correlation. I'll stop insulting everyone's intelligence (I was really just trying to get people to push themselves a little. Next time I'll be more specific).

    3. I recognize this is not the scum-infested LSJ comment section. And I am grateful for the civility and discourse on this site.

    4. You are correct about the usefulness of comparisons. Previous year data from Lansing is interesting -- look at rape. Especially for any non-drug using female, that should says a lot about safety in Lansing over the last few years.
  • edited July 2008
    Yes, it was a misunderstanding it seems. I tend not to underestimate the understanding of the people, here, though. We must remember we're all in good, smart company, here, which is why I thought your post was kind of condecending.
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