Concern from businesses as Saginaw violence continues - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Concern from businesses as Saginaw violence continues

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(07/26/12) - The recent spike in violence in Saginaw now has the business community asking, what's being done to stop it?

While the police department investigates a rash of shootings, criticism of how city leaders are handling the violence is starting to surface.
    
Earlier this week, a public safety committee member criticized city hall, and Thursday, a prominent business leader is asking for more cooperation.

Mary Lou Benecke sits on a few business and community boards, and she wants to know, who is leading the effort to stop the violence?

"I'm passionate about Saginaw," says Benecke, a former executive with Dow Corning.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce President came to this Media Public Safety meeting to let law enforcement officials and community leaders know it is going to be difficult to attract businesses to Saginaw if it doesn't get a grip on the violence problem. She's hoping that all groups trying to combat the problem are working together.

"I would like someone to say we will be the conveners, it's law enforcement, which is critical, but its also education, and economic development..

Her comments echoed what a member of the city's public safety committee told ABC12 earlier this week, that the city is lacking leadership in dealing with the violence. Jimmy Greene says Saginaw needs to hire more police officers, a sentiment echoed by other law enforcement officials at the meeting. Greene also says divisions with city government is hurting the crime fighting. Benecke says business is being hurt

"The business community wants to be part of the solution. It's already hurting," Benecke said.

As far as the recent shootings, Saginaw Police Chief Brian Lipe says it's mainly two rival gangs causing the problems.

Benecke says the violence can end, but it will take cooperation of a number of entities.

"We have a problem here that the community can address and if we put all our resources together, we can solve it," Benecke said.

The committee looking at possible changes to public safety in Saginaw meets again Friday. It is supposed to make recommendations by the end of September.

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