Advance Notice: Briefs
House Dems introduce plan for a fund to combat violent crime in local communities
Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas
House Democrats introduced a plan this week to create a fund dedicated to addressing violent crime throughout Michigan in the communities where it is most needed.
Alongside Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Police Chief James E. White, House Democrats announced legislation to create a Public Safety and Violence Prevention Fund. This fund, outlined by HB 4605 and HB 4606, would supplement existing crime prevention funding in local communities proportional to the number of violent crime reports in the latest three annual crime data reports from the Michigan State Police.
The funds would be distributed monthly starting in November and no one municipality would be permitted more than 25% of the total fund.
White, who has frequently expressed to reporters in the last year his concerns over violent crime in the city and the needlessness of some of the violence the city has seen, said in a news release Wednesday that state funding to support law enforcement’s effort to curb violence is necessary to keeping communities safe.
“This proposal would help the Detroit Police Department increase neighborhood patrols to suppress crime and assist Neighborhood Police Officers with combating quality of life issues,” White said.
The funding would come from Michigan’s sales tax revenue and could be used by municipalities for a variety of community and law enforcement programs to prevent violent crime.
In order to properly address violent crime where it is higher than the rest of the state, like in the case of Detroit, it is important not to take away funding from other sources, Duggan said in a news release Wednesday.
“Communities with consistently high rates of violent crime need more consistent resources to keep residents safe,” Duggan said. “These bills achieve that by providing Detroit and similarly situated cities with additional revenue sharing funds to put more officers in neighborhoods and address other systemic issues that contribute to the violent crime rate.”
Michigan has been taking several steps in the right direction to build a safer state, House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) said in the news release. He noted that just this week Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law legislation to create the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, known as a “red flag” law, in order to allow a judge to temporarily prevent someone from purchasing a firearm.
Last month, Whitmer signed universal background checks for all gun sales in the state into law, as well as a requirement that those firearms be safely stored.
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