On March 12 of this year, Gov. Rick Snyder delivered a speech discussing the problem of crime in Michigan and its impact and cost to the citizens of Michigan. While I have my differences with many of the policies promoted by the governor, I had to cheer many parts of this very strong message.
Nobody who lives in Detroit needs to be educated about the problem of crime. Every Detroiter has had crime touch their lives or the people in their family and every Detroiter has seen the negative effects of crime in their neighborhood. We are not proud that Detroit ranks in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the nation. That sad statistic speaks for itself.
We sit night after night in front of the TV watching the news report about babies killed when homes are shot up in drive-by shootings. We read in the paper about children assaulted on the way to school. We hear from our friends and neighbors about home break-ins, street muggings and automobile hijackings that occur far too frequently.
Detroiters have learned more about crime than most people could imagine.
We welcome that Gov. Snyder is learning about it also.
In his March speech, the Governor proposed a long list of initiatives. They are too numerous to list but you can read his speech here.
Sadly, lots of these proposals have yet to be acted upon. Even more disheartening, many of them did not come with proper funding at levels necessary enough to have a real impact.
And at same time the Governor used $15 million for some specials program and $5 million for another unique program while largely ignoring basic services. The City of Detroit is entering a new era of massive service cuts that will result in even fewer police officers on the street to protect public safety. It is like cutting out the meat from your dinner but giving you a few extra peas on your plate.
Other ideas, like his suggestion that Detroit teenagers learn how to do a fish survey at Milliken State Park in Detroit certainly is different but falls far short of the comprehensive and broader programs that we need to have any real citywide impact.
I have introduced House Resolution 237 before the House asking the governor to do all he can to take those words from his speech and turn them into reality. We need more than just good ideas – we need strong actions. Many Michigan cities, like our own Detroit, are badly cash strapped. We need financial help. We need strong measures to fight gang violence. We need employment programs to cut into the 55 percent unemployment rate for younger Detroit adults. We need more police patrols on the street – not less.
You can read my Resolution here.
I hope you join me in urging the governor and the rest of my colleagues in the State Legislature to take the appropriate action as soon as possible.