Community asks questions during Flint crime forum - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Community asks questions during Flint crime forum

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(02/12/13) - What's it going to take to make Flint a safer place to live? Tuesday night, those who call Flint home had a chance to have their say.

One thing that came out Tuesday - Flint's top law enforcers say they're up against two big problems when it comes to fighting crime: witnesses are afraid to come forward, and the police department's technology is out of date.

"People need to not worry about retaliation, they need to not, don't worry about being a rat," said Jerry Boles, a retired Lansing police chief and consultant for the Flint police department through Michigan State University's School of Criminal Justice.

That's what Flint-area leaders say is the biggest challenge to fighting crime. They talked about this during a forum called "Making Flint a Safer City."

The panel was made up of the Flint police chief, Boles and more.

"If people don't provide the information that police and investigators need to close cases and make arrests and recover property after the fact, their hands are tied," he said.

It's something even neighborhood watch groups say they struggle with.

"It's hard in every neighborhood, including our own, to get enough people involved," said Craig Wolcott with the College Cultural Neighborhood Association. "People naturally always feel like if someone is out there doing something, they don't have to be involved."

Another key point from the forum: technology upgrades are on the way that should help police do their job.

"It's updating technology that should've been done years ago as far as the police department is concerned," Boles said. "In terms of computers and software, crime analysis, crime mapping, being able to link different cases, different suspects, different areas."

The software installation begins on Feb. 18.

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