Report: Property crime down, violent crime steady in Ingham County

FBI tracks steady rate of gun violence and assault in latest annual report

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THURSDAY, Oct. 15 — Recently released data shows that property crimes continued to decline in Greater Lansing last year as the number of violent crimes in Ingham County remained steady.

An annual crime report released this week by the FBI shows that Ingham County tracked about 500 fewer property crimes from 2018 to 2019, while the number of violent crimes — including assault, murder and robbery — remained relatively consistent with figures reported in 2018.

“We continue to have a significant, persistent occurrence of domestic assault and sexual assault, as well as gun violence. Much of our gun-related violence is either related to the illegal drug trade, or to domestic violence,” according to a statement from the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, which also touted ongoing efforts to curb crime with prevention programs.

The instances of reported robbery, rape, burglary, larceny and automobile theft declined in Ingham County from 2018 to 2019, according to the FBI’s report, while local instances of murder, aggravated assault and arson reportedly increased during that same timeframe.

“The widespread availability of guns contributes to our violent crime rate, particularly homicides. The homicide numbers tend to fluctuate within a certain range from year to year,” a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office said. “If the federal and state governments took serious measures on gun safety, our local gun violence rates would surely drop as a result.”

Prosecutors said the end result is “virtually no change” in local violent crime rates. They said the 3% spike in violent crimes over the last three years can be attributed to increased reporting of sexual assaults in the wake of the Me Too movement that took hold toward the end of 2017.

“In 2018-19, we had a 28% increase in reported offenses of criminal sexual conduct, relative to the previous three years,” a spokesman explained. “This is due to an increase in the number of victims who are willing to come forward. That is a national and international trend, and as the home of Michigan State University we see it in even greater numbers here in Ingham County.”

Prosecutors also said they’ve also tracked a 27% reduction in prison commitments from Ingham County over the last three years. The data shows that reforms to criminal charging, sentencing and plea agreements have “not adversely impacted the public safety,” a spokesman added.

The FBI’s data includes the total number of cases reported by the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, police departments in Lansing, Mason, Stockbridge and Leslie, as well as those in Meridian and Lansing Townships, Michigan State University and Lansing Community College.

The vast majority of those crimes are reported in the city of Lansing, reports also showed. Nationally, the estimated number of violent crimes in 2019 decreased when compared to 2018, reports showed. Violent crime decreased by 0.5% nationally; Property crime dropped by 4.1%.

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