Saginaw Police Department creates “Proactive, Two-Officer Unit” to push back against violent crime

Saginaw Police pushes back against disturbing spike in violent crime
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 10:48 PM EST
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - (01/04/2021) - As we start the new year, Saginaw Police are pushing back against what they say is a disturbing spike in violent crime.

Police say there is no one clear-cut reason for the surge but point to the stress COVID-19 has caused across our community like unemployment, housing instability, and pandemic isolation.

“It’s a lot of stress when the pandemic hit. A lot of mental health issues that people had to address, and it brought up a lot of situations that people weren’t ready for,” Saginaw Police Chief, Bob Ruth said.

As of December 2020, Saginaw had 26 homicides for the year, more than triple the number from 2019 when the city had nine.

Before, they would just respond to calls. Now, they’re increasing their presence in high crime areas in hopes of getting ahead of the violence.

“We’re basically reorchestrating our community police officers unit, changing up their hours a little bit, their duties, and their practices to make it more of a proactive unit,” Ruth said.

A proactive policing unit that will use data to address some of the issues in the neighborhoods.

“We’re using hot-spot mapping to target those areas as to when the crime is occurring at what times, so that we can hit them at the most opportune time to put an end to some of the violent crime in the city,” Ruth said.

The Saginaw Police Department shared the news on Facebook Monday afternoon, and Carly Rose was among one of a couple others who had questions. She is part of a group called ‘Empower Saginaw,’ and wants to see more collaboration between the city, its members, and outreach groups.

“The City has got to do better to work with citizens and outreach groups while developing these programs, rather than releasing half-baked initiatives that leave more questions than answers. Our main goal is to ensure safety, justice, and equity in our communities. Let’s proactively work together to make that happen,” Rose said.

Ruth says he believes the initiative will help reduce crime and get them back on the right track in 2021.

“That’s what the police department is here for. We want to show that we care about our citizens and engage our citizens in a very positive manner. Our citizens want their neighborhoods to be safe, and we’re going to deliver that to them the best that we can.”

To read the entire Facebook post from the Saginaw Police Department, click here.

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