LANSING, MI (WLNS) – In light of the recent crime and violence we’ve seen on both the local and national levels this year, law enforcement and community members here in mid-Michigan are striving to make a difference by turning the spotlight away from the negative, and focusing on the positive.
The Peckham Youth Group in Lansing became aware of the amount of crime and violence that happens every day in the streets of Lansing, so a year ago, members of the group came up with this combined event with the Lansing Police Department to stop the violence and educate the public about it.
It’s called Brighter Tomorrow and the theme surrounding today’s event, was promoting peace.
“The number of senseless acts of gun violence in our youth that are being killed due to gun violence is unacceptable here in the Lansing area and certainly in the country and anything we can do to bridge that gap,” Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski said.
There’s no question, acts of violence and crime have become a trend in the local headlines recently, but a group of kids in Lansing with help from the Lansing Police Department is hoping to change that.
“Promoting peace.. start trying to be agents of a positive change in Lansing is the main hope,” Nate Burmeister, Right Turn Youth Specialist said.
Burmeister works with students in the Lansing schools and found out students were concerned with the amount of violence and crime they were seeing in the streets.
Determined to make a difference, Burmeister helped initiate this community event to take action.
“We have this peace pledge and we want to ask everyone to sign it and actually be a part of it,” Jamie Skief, with Peckham Youth Services said. “And so if something does happen, if they see a fight or they see someone being bullied in their schools or in the community period, that would help stop it.”
“We have done a very aggressive approach to combating gun violence here in the City of Lansing with the Violence Crime Initiative, With the G.R.E.A.T Program,” Chief Yankowski said.
The focus? To reach out to the youth, and set the record straight when it comes to violence in their community.
“There’s a suppression side, and there’s a prevention side,” Sgt. Rodney Anderson said. “The prevention side is equally important as our suppressant side.”
Sgt. Rodney Anderson, from the Lansing Police Dept., is part of the G.R.E.A.T Program in Lansing. The program focuses on being proactive in the schools, from a law enforcement standpoint, in educating the youth about crime and violence.
And whether you’re two or 12, this initiative is driven by the youth, to protect the youth, from these violent acts.
It’s something Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski says is the first step to creating a safer Lansing.
“This is the youth coming together and saying we want to be part of the solution,” Chief Yankowski said. “That they recognize the fact that they play a role in the violence that occurs in this community.”
“We’re still in school and we have like siblings that are younger than us and we want them to be safe,” Erika DeLong with Peckham Youth Services said.
According to Lansing Police Chief Kike Yankowski, looking back 25 years ago, violent crime in the City of Lansing has been reduced by 36 percent.
A lot of this, in large part, by police/community based events like this one, where resources are being shared to educate the community.