(04/08/14) - Law enforcement agencies say violent crime in the city of Saginaw is down from past years.
The decrease comes despite last year's budget cuts that reduced staffing to just 55 officers.
"We've got a little momentum going on," said Saginaw Police Chief Brian Lipe.
Lipe credits a variety of reasons for the decrease.
"We've solved a lot of violent crimes that have put our major offenders behind bars," he said.
Detective Matt Gerow worked on a number of those violent crimes, from a pre-prom shooting, to a house firebombing, to the deadly beating of a man who was walking home.
"I think people are getting fed up. They can see the snitch code is not working, and in order to feel safer, they need to talk to the police," he said.
Gerow was named the Saginaw Police officer of the year. He's been with the department for 17 years.
"When I first started, we had 160 cops. Now we have 55," he said.
Gerow credits the Michigan State Police presence in the city. About two dozen troopers and detectives are assigned to Saginaw to help cut down on violent crime.
"I couldn't do what I am doing in being effective without the road patrol officers," said Trooper Liz Hunt.
Hunt earned the Michigan State Police award, in part for her role in the Light Up the City and Coffee with a Cop events.
"We are putting boots, we are getting our officers and troopers out of their cars and talking to people, because what we found is that when we are driving by in a patrol car, that they are not telling us what they are telling us if we walk up to them and talking to them on their porches," she said.
She feels the programs will help Saginaw shed its image as a violent city.
"Be on the proactive side to get us off that top ten list," she said.
Saginaw has recorded three homicides so far this year, including two children killed in domestic situations.
By the end of April 2013, Saginaw had nine homicides.
ABC12 Main Station