the perception of crime in ypsilanti

A few days ago, we met a young woman named Bee here on the site. Bee introduced herself as the prospective owner of a caf

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83 Comments

  1. Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Check this FACT out:

    There is MORE crime committed in Ann Arbor than in Ypsilanti. And plenty of crime happens in downtown Ann Arbor, especially larceny, again, more so than Ypsi’s downtown.

    You don’t see people worried about opening up businesses in A2 for that reason, so no need to worry about Ypsi.

  2. Posted May 29, 2008 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Also,

    If you’re trying to get capitol to start this, I assume you have a business plan. Maybe your business plan needs to better address the crime issue in Ypsi, and fight these misperceptiions. Crime data is free to the public, so you could easily compile statistics, and maybe using Ann Arbor as something to compare.

    As far as people saying no to your idea, or giving an excuse not to invest, that’s just part of the process. You might have to go somewhere else for financing. But as long as you stay determined and believe in yourself and your idea, it’s going to happen for you. Best of luck – and I promise that if you open this shop, I’ll bring my family to visit.

  3. egpnet
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Bee’s neighborhood COPAC rep could get her crimes stats she could put into her business plan as an addendum. But that’s not a very good idea.

    Better idea would be to talk with the cafe owners themselves around town and hear what their experiences are …hit a couple boutiques, as well.

    I live downtown and the more people we get to live, eat, shop and have fun downtown, the less street crime we’ll have to be concerned about.

  4. Posted May 29, 2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    “(providing crime data) is not a very good idea.”

    Maybe I missed something here, eg, but I thought Bee was trying to convince others, namely investors, that there is a misconception of crime in Ypsi. If she wanted to convince herself, maybe talking with other business owners would be the way to go. In my own experience, I’ve found that investors want data, statistics, and facts, not just a few random opinions. Otherwise, you could easily take the other random opinions that are more negative and you’d get nowhere.

  5. Posted May 29, 2008 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I, too, am getting really frustrated about the misperception of crime here in Ypsilanti. We own and manage apartments and commercial spaces and currently have 100 units. I show apartments on a daily basis and over the past month the first question I get is: how is the crime?? I lost renting a unit to a U of M doctor who is starting her residency at St. Joseph because her parents who live in Mt. Pleasant are worried that she’d get killed or stabbed walking to her apartment in downtown Ypsilanti. She opted to rent a dive in Ann Arbor over our beautiful loft for the same price. I even gave her 3 references of single women who live in the lofts for years and they raved to her about how great downtown Ypsilanti is and that they feel very safe. On a good note, I rented that loft 1 day later to a previous tenant of ours who lived downtown a year ago and loved it.

    I just had a showing to a girl who lives in Jackson and landed a new job in Ann Arbor who is worried about the crime in Ypsilanti??? I can tell you this, we are renting to more and more professionals and U of M students who cannot afford Ann Arbor rents so my sneaky suspicion is that some group in Ann Arbor (maybe landlords) are spinning this crime tale to get some of their residents back. How do we combat this??? I’d be willing to help if anyone has any ideas.

  6. M Allen
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I live on Washington Street with my family. I walk it often. I don’t feel unsafe. I’ve seen prostitutes over the years, and the occasional guy looking to sell stolen CDs, but no violent crime. I did hear about a robbery a few years ago near BW3. And, as Mark mentioned, there was a rape in a tanning salon on Cross Street. I don’t know of stores being robbed. The bank on Michigan Ave may have been hit in the last five years, but I’m not sure. All in all, it’s a pretty safe neighborhood, even though there’s an occasional fight at the bus station on Pearl. We’ve got the occasional panhandler, but other than that I’m not aware of much.

    I look forward to visiting your cafe. Good luck.

  7. Meta
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    See Ypsi Crime Maps:

    http://maps.ypsi.com/crime/maps.html

  8. Meta
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    On closer inspection, it doesn’t look as though those Ypsi Crime maps have been updated in some time. The most recent ones on the site are dated May 2006.

  9. Zach
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The Ypsilanti Police website has over a year’s worth of crime statistics:

    http://ypsilantipolice.org/community/stats_intro.shtml

  10. bee
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Hey Mark- thanks for putting the topic up here.

    I was certainly het up yesterday but after spending an hour with the landlord, and another half hour with Peter Fletcher I realized there’s simply no need to try to WIN the statistics battle with my investor.

    On one hand, he’s simply looking out for a young woman (me) and taking feedback he’d gotten from a couple of women who work for him (which is sort of another story, but…) On the other hand, it’s still an unfair perception and I’m willing to work with others to combat that. And I have to wonder if this would be as much of a concern if I weren’t a woman (and while I’d consider myself a pacifist, I’m built to kick some ass if necessary)

    I’m certainly convinced that it is as safe as anywhere else, and that’s gonna have to be good enough for my investor.

    It’s gets my goat about how much this all relates to our culture just living in fear… and isolation… and delusion. I don’t think anybody MEANS to be this way, it just takes a certain effort and true love of existence to choose to consciously NOT live in a state of fear, paranoia, insulation.

    Is the crime mis-perception because of the large population of blacks? Oh no, someone tells me, it’s black people who say how much crime there is. Well, hmmmm. How about we’re all people and Pollyanna me will go on being who I am, positively seeking out experiences that radically treat other people like… people. Anywhere, any place- just be nice, be aware, pay attention. The more anyone focuses on the negative, the more likely we’ll see the negative and vice versa.

    So what will it take to bust the crime myth? Rather than flap on about how there’s the same crime as anywhere else, how do we promote how safe and real and alive Ypsi is?

    oh and, I look forward to meeting you all!

  11. Suzie
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Two points from the “Future of Ypsi” meeting in Barton Hills (Yes, I went; the curiosity was just too much):

    Our mayor pointed out that we have a very diverse population, and that can sometimes make people feel nervous/uncomfortable. (In a funny aside, as the buzzer rang to end this session, he quipped, “I’ll take “diversity” for $200, Alex.”) To re-phrase more bluntly, seeing a black person is not the same thing as seeing a crime. Some of the perceptions of crime in Ypsi may be subconscious racism. *Subconscious*, though, from otherwise good people who believe they’re not racist at all.

    The fellow who publishes the Depot Town Rag (don’t recall his name) also pointed out that in Ypsi, every piddly crime ends up on the crime blotter – that, for one, is why it’s great to be a crime reporter in Ypsi. He joked, “There’s NO crime in Ann Arbor, NO crime at Briarwood…” … at least after it goes through the department of media relations or whatever at the police.

    I’m totally paraphrasing. For the real quotes, Michigan Business Review put the video up on their website.
    http://www.mlive.com/businessreview/annarbor/index.ssf/2008/05/panel_recommends_cooperation_a.html

    (As far as other topics of interest from the meeting: much too much talk of historic buildings- yes it’s great, but it’s not necessarily a draw for business; amusing exchanges regarding the potential for a city-twp merger (and Kinley’s comeback on this topic is probably worth watching the video); Ann Arbor Spark will be in the empty furniture building downtown; no real news on Water Street.)

  12. Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Bee,

    I can’t wait until you open your shop.

    “oh, I’m comin’ and I expect a hug!

    and some kum-ba-ya and toasted marshmallows and a whole line of can can dancers and and and a red carpet! ;)”

    I’ll see if I can find a red carpet.

    I see you are doing sandwiches. Will you have a breakfast menu, too?

    Any ideas on your hours, yet? Will you be family friendly?

  13. Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I have a related question to the one on the perception of crime. One of my friends was recently looking to have an Ypsilanti office for the automotive business he works for that is based in Germany.

    He considered Centennial Place but got nowhere because of “the closeness of Deja Vu.” Now he is looking more in Ann Arbor and Saline.

    I had not previously spent much consideration around how Deja Vu might be having a direct affect on detracting potential new business.

    I wonder if this is related to the association with Ypsilanti and crime.

  14. American
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    BW3 moved away from Deja Vu. I only went to BW3 once at its former location. Didn’t care to watch the prostitutes flagging down John’s by waving at them through the big picture windows of the old BW3 establishment. Not sure if the prostitutes have found a another warm place to work, but hope BW3 does well in it’s new location.

  15. Mike doesn't have a clever name
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Remember when they were considering having UM graduation at the convocation center? All the kids went crazy because they thought their grandmothers would get stabbed in the parking lot (at the convocation center, which is so far out of town that only backpackers reach it on foot), and they had it in the Diag. The next day, when the A2 news ran a cover story, they said that students had opposed the convo because it would be sad not to have it on UM campus. I think that’s actually a really good reason to object, and I’m sure it was really “special,” but it’s funny they were, maybe, afraid to address the real reason?

    And someone can probably name the source of this:

    “If an Ann Arbor man comes to Ypsi and gets shot, the headline at the A2 News is ‘man gets shot in Ypsi,’ but if an Ypsi man gets shot in Ann Arbor, the headline is ‘Ypsilanti man shot.'”

  16. bee
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    teaspout- I can’t get your blog to load- I’d love to chat with you more… hours thinkin’ 7 am til 7 pm, 7 days…

    — derail —
    breakfast- oatmeal and tex mex higas and cumin crusted home fries and breakfast burritos with chorizo I buy from Dos Hermanos; plus bagels with blueberry lemon cream cheese that I make in house and fruit and a little baked goods happiness. Also sandwiches and salads and soup all made from scratch and using as many local/regional suppliers as possible… and Intelligentsia Roaster’s coffee brewed up strong and rich (and espresso too)…

    [beezyscafe@gmail.com]
    –end derail–

    A lot of my regulars in A2 mentioned the Vu and how they wished it wasn’t there, what an undesirable element it is… but really? who wouldn’t want to hang out with Miss Nude Michigan 2007 all day? Besides, why else would it be funny for me to have topless sandwich on the menu if the Vu weren’t across the street?

    it takes all kinds…

  17. Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    An interesting fact about the AA News’ crime blotter map (when people like me read it) was that it reported little or no crime in or around the UoM campuses. This was because the Campus Police did not give them their stats. If such info were included in AA crime profiles it would make downtown Ypsi’s bulk crime look comparatively like Main Street USA during Disneyland’s “Cops Get in Free Day”.

    More than anecdotal: I neither experienced nor witnessed any crime in downtown Ypsi during 6 years of helping run the “dirty version” Elbow Room late at night and Hen Fah during the day. My cars were never screwed with, and panhandlers were few and easily shooed.

    Conversely, during the one year we lived in Ann Arbor: my car was vandalized and I witnessed an armed robbery inside a popular music venue.

  18. bee
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I also would imagine that BW3 moved to better accommodate the (dread sore subject of any downtown) parking desired by a corporate venture- Ypsi, and Michigan (ok, most of the country) isn’t pedestrian-laden (another thing I’d like to work on)… everyone drives.

    BW3 and all the other joints down the road in strip mall land have their niche and perhaps BW3 felt they could attract more reliable traffic at the edge of town?

  19. Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Regarding the Vu.
    Have those Germans ever visited Germany, where there is legal prostitution and excellent economic diversity?

    Plus, strippers make excellent customers, because they have a lot of money and are usually smarter than your average City Councilman.

    BW3’s apparent new business model is opening one in every suburban strip mall within the next 6 months. I have a feeling that (and the mentioned parking problem) had a lot more to do with the move than perceived crime.

  20. Robert
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    The BW3 chain started as a college campus thing but has more recently been shifting to a strategy of locating just off major freeway interchanges. They would have surely kept the downtown location open if they thought it wouldn’t be competing with the new location for business. They know people in town will come the short distance out to the new location, while they will also get a lot more traffic from the freeway too. That can’t be said the other way around.

    These guys are really doing their demographics homework. You’ll notice BW3 has yet to franchise any second location in Ann Arbor either, and Ann Arbor is three times the size of Ypsi. If they thought they could get most of the traffic they do at their current location to come down to a new location at State and 94, you’d see them moving that franchise out to the freeway too.

    I suspect those BW3-Ypsi owners weren’t hurting at all in their downtown location. In fact, anyone out there who has a dream of opening up a college bar would be wise to do it now, and do it in that space just vacated by BW3. Those kinds of opportunities do not come along too often. Usually, when a business pulls out of a particular location, it’s because there was a problem with that location. That’s not the case here. This is one of those instances where the owners made enough money that it became possible to reposition themselves to make even more.

    ABC/Corner Brewery should move their opperations into that spot, and sell their current location to Zingerman’s. I think they’d both make a killing with that scenario.

  21. Posted May 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me or am I sensing some inferiority complex with Ann Arbor here? It just seems like we can’t help but compare. Can’t we just be “us” and stop worrying about “them”? I think we have enough work for ourselves without worrying about others.

    I have a foot in both cities, living in one (Ypsi — YAY!!!!) and working in the other. I must say, both have their merits and, quite frankly, I don’t really distinguish between the two that much. I mean, I go to a bunch of business between and around them, too. And Saline. And Dexter. And Ypsi Township. And Pittsfield. And… and…

    Let’s face it, for coolness, Ypsi rocks. For food and entertainment choices, Ann Arbor is almost overwhelming for such a small place. For this, it’s here. For that, it’s there. There’s just no reason to keep lamenting (or promoting) some mythical image problem.

    Hey, wanna change Ypsi’s image? Do something extraordinary to change minds, but don’t just propagandize. Let’s face it, nobody wants to go to a “cool city” as blessed by Big Brother. (What a horrible idea.) All a city can do is provide the right environment. The rest is up to us. But have they done that?

    Keep an open mind about large events, and maybe the state’s premiere beer tasting festival will move in. Keep an open mind about zoning variances and maybe a brewery will move in around the corner. Walk away from support for a local historical building that the city let fall into decay and maybe a citizens group will step up and show some spirit. (Whether or not they succeed is greatly overshadowed by the success of their effort. “Yes, those crazy coffee shop people live in my city. And they rock!”) When the rest of the rednecks in this state said “no” to same-gender marriage, we said “all are welcome here”. Rather than some of the NIMBY stuff displayed elsewhere, this has been full-on “IMBY, please”. I want these kind of folks as my neighbors. Others will, too. But this effort must be constant and it must be allowed to happen, not forced. When was any truly cool place on Earth ever planned from the start? (Disney World doesn’t count. Unless you’re ten.)

    None of this requires much investment from the government. It requires creative thinking and nimble bureaucracies and a willingness just to get the heck out of the way most of the time. Our small size is as much an advantage as anything. We are too small not to act. Often. We are the ones who can try anything. We have the motivation. Do we have open enough minds to attempt everything?

    For example, yeah we have a nudie bar. But it seems like we have a potential business owner who would like to be good neighbors with them. Has anybody else tried this? Is the city doing everything it can to get the heck out of her way? Is anything under the control of our government getting in her way? As a voting citizen of Ypsilanti, it is my sincere desire that everybody do everything they can to let this happen. Whadda ya bet I’m not alone? Whadda ya bet not one entrenched bureaucrat has defied a bunch of goofy, useless procedures and bent to the will of the community rather than the official hierarchy?

    THAT is what a cool place would do: Just let people be cool. And not worry about some other place. We’re us. They’re them. Let’s all have some fun!

  22. Robert
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I like what you say, Curt Waugh. I just want to point out one thing. Between Ann Arbor and Ypsi, Ypsi has the best mexican food, the best middle eastern food, and the best thai food. I live in Ann Arbor and wish they were here.

  23. Robert
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    If I have to be mugged, I’d rather it occur in Ypsi than in Ann Arbor. I can tell I would be much more likely to get help from witnesses in Ypsi than I would in Ann Arbor. There are lots of people in Ypsi that are so fucking mad at criminals I know they’d jump at the chance to clobber one in action. Ann Arbor is loaded with people who wouldn’t consider it their responsibility to do anything in that 5 or 10 minutes before the police get there. They’d just call 911 and go on their way. If the police could materialize on the scene instantaniously, I’d be alright. Unfortunately the technology isn’t there yet, and we still have to act like a community for those moments when people we pay to do shit haven’t arrived yet.

  24. egpnet
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Curt’s been talking the talk.

    The right talk.

    Come on in Bee.

    The VU, as a matter of fact, is a good neighbor, they contribute in many ways to the downtown, and they have done a lot to clean up that corner.

    BW3 for business reasons … not parking or prostitution.

    Prostitution is down in the central city thanks to innovative community polcing and close cooperation with council and the courts.

    Our biggest “challenge” downtown is the bus depot. I suggest that everyone write AATA to provide more security and a higher level of on-site control to discourage hangers on, street people and bored teeeens from messin’ under the canopy and in the parking lot.

    Hundreds of riders every day are totally miffed at AATA’s poor handling of the place. And we may lose two more neighbors with young children adjoining the property who don’t like the goings on.

    Hy .. it’s a city. Always “stuff” happening. But we are dealing quite well and enjoying Ypsilanti for all the right reasons.

    I also agree we should get off this comparison kick or the township versus the city stuff. We neeed to begin to think Washtenaw County and even larger than that … S.E. Lower Michigan. If we’re going to attract jobs, people and rebuild infrastructure, new transportation systems, and get a handle on sprawl and the environment … we will have to learn to think like a larger community of cities, townships and counties pulling together.

    My carbon footprint being “under control” doesn’t mean much. But if we are all working with a larger vision … the impact will be immense. I smell an opportunity.

  25. Posted May 29, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    While personal views of the Vu are valid, the question of its affect on downtown business has been asked. I’ll chime in on the topic since I know a little bit about it.

    As a neighbor, they run a pretty tight ship. Not too much mischief happening there, probably even less than most entertainment venues in town.

    Regarding the Vu detering businesses from coming downtown: I’ve personally talked to at least 6 business owners with serious interest and desire to come downtown and were looking at a space near the Vu that was a move-in-ready, perfect fit for their business. They decided against that location exlusively due to the Vu. These would have been great business for the downtown: high tech firms, law offices, apparel designers, etc. Some ended up going elsewhere downtown, some to Depot Town, others went to A2, Saline, etc. Obviously some businesses have no problems being by the Vu, but for too many potential businesses it is a serious deterent and/or slows down their business getting downtown.

  26. Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    If a business is too prudish to loacte anywhere near the VU, fuck ’em. Let it be the Ypsi filter. Weren’t Phoenix Contractors still across the street? Not exactly a condom store.

    YpsiPositive: The best developments are the ones that just happen, without a lot pre-discussion / vetting.
    Anyone notice the inventors of the “Ann Arbor style cheesecake” (whatever that is) are setting up shop downtown on Huron?

  27. egpnet
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Iteresting …

    Ypsi-style “cheesecake” is on N. Washington
    and Ann Arbor-style cheescake is on N. Huron.

  28. rodneyn
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    For better or worse, I feel safer walking in downtown Ypsilanti and our neighborhoods at night then I do walking downtown Ann Arbor at night.

    With the banking/credit mess the way it is right now, I suspect that the financial guy is using the crime thing as a cover to hide the fact new lending guidelines have choked off the flow of funds he can provide.

  29. Thoreau
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget “let our all male staff serve you, Root beer/hot dogs Michigan Ave. Cheesecake.

  30. Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    the biggest problem with crime I’ve had in Ypsi so far are the raccoons that keep breaking into my apartment.

  31. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    In the last couple weeks, somebody stole my daughter’s little red wagon from our garage. We left the door open and wagon resting at its edge. So, I’m a little pissed and annoyed and out a few bucks but realize if I hadn’t been too lazy to shut the door, we’d still have our wagon.

    Technically it was a crime. It’s also, technically, a crime whenever an 18 year old gets drunk at a barn party in Pinckney.

    What I’m getting at is people everywhere live with crime. I think what we really care about is whether or not the crime around us is a threat to our safety.

    My wife and I lived in Detroit seven years before Ypsi. We heard the occasional late night gunplay. But, we never really worried, since we knew they weren’t aimed at us. Most violent crime is crime on crime or spouse on spouse. I don’t particularly enjoy a crack house down the block or stolen wagon; it annoys me, but it doesn’t scare me. It’s more of a threat to my property value than my safety.

    Last time I checked the stats, more people are killed by drunk drivers each year than are murdered. (And, most drunk drivers kill random strangers while most murderers kill folks they know.) So, if folks want to be rational about fear of personal safety, stay off the streets. Move to Ypsi where you can walk everywhere instead of putting yourself behind the wheel of death. The more you drive, the greater you’re really putting yourself at risk.

    How’s this for a new slogan: “Ypsilanti, statistically proven safer than driving.”

  32. Edge of the sprawl
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Suzie,
    Thanks for the info about the link to a video of the “Future of Ypsi” breakfast at the Country Club in Ann Arbor. I watched the whole video and didn’t see any “amusing exchanges regarding the potential for a city-twp merger”. I am not amused when politicians (or business leaders) B.S.

    Yes, there was too much talk about historic structures but what else does the city have to offer? Everything positive mentioned about the future of Ypsi is located in the township: the low taxes, the growth S. of 94, the influx of new business, and especially the Aerotropolis (sp?) – the development of township land adjacent to the two airports.

    Kinley still thinks that driving out 28 property owners (and taxpayers) from Water Street is a positive result. The mayor thinks Riverside Arts Center is a cultural mecca for the entire region. How they can say these things in public with a straight face is beyond comprehension. To his credit, the current mayor didn’t join in with Cheryl Farmer’s hype about the beautiful waterfront property that a brave developer could step in and transform overnight. He at least acknowledged that the city needs to move to do something with the land that they’ve purchased.

    All the City’s problems were discussed as issues that someone else should solve. Is it really the responsibility of a Public University to initiate businesses in the community and compel its faculty to live in the city? Does the City have a right to dictate to a company going out of business(ACH) what they do with the vacant structure or who they sell to? Should the County Administrator declare that regional transportation is an absolute need for the entire county in 5-10 years when mass transportation is only feasible for high density, urban locations and the vast majority of the county is low density rural areas? Is it the role of State government to alter the laws to penalize communities that offer the best prospects for revitalizing the state economy?

    However, the greatest distortion of the truth was repeated numerous times when the speakers suggested that the merger between the Township and the City was being prevented by “old emotional issues”. The reason it won’t happen is due to rational economic decisions made by the township residents. It’s a “new emotional issue” when someone threatens the economic future of my community.

    The mayor even stated at one point, “We have one Ypsi now.” Keep dreaming – the two communities couldn’t have a greater difference in philosophies of governance. People have chosen to live in the two communities for vastly different reasons and have vastly different expectations of government services. The mayor couldn’t have been more wrong than when he stated the differences will soon melt away or die off and that a merger of the two communities is inevitable. If elected officials in the township step up to “lead the way” to merger as the mayor suggested, they’ll be quickly voted out of office.

    The county administrator said we need to work on specific projects to break barriers. I suggest the city work on paying off its debts, reducing millage rates, and providing opportunities for businesses to be profitable. If you fixed these problems you wouldn’t even have to consider merging and the whole county would be better off.

  33. MaryD
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Our paranoid friend from the edge spews forth again, lurking in the wings ready to spring upon anything that reeks of ‘cooperation”. A lone wolf who has long boot straps and no sense community, except for his/her own. A real they vs. us mentality serves you well. While you make valid points regarding poor governance, just watch, it is an election year. One wonders how you will vote in your own little berg.

  34. soundman
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Where are you guys getting your facts from that you think there’s less crime here than in AA?
    All the stats I’ve found show nearly the same # of crimes (except Ypsi always outshines in murders) but these same stats show 5-6x more people living in AA. I’ve never taken a course in statistics but this leads me to believe there could be around 5-6x more crime in Ypsi.
    Am I mistaken?
    Please show me how i’ve erred.

  35. Posted May 30, 2008 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Ah, striation between the urban and the suburban is a Michigan tradition. Our state harbors the most segregated cities in the nation. The historic mass urban exoduses in the name of “crime avoidance” have echoes in Ypsi’s current perception issues.

    Mayhaps the price of gas has driven the commuter class to lash out at it neighbors’ mild American suggestions that burdens be shared?

    This is just one sign of the coming Oil Rapture. “We must repent!”

  36. Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I owned and operated a boutique on Michigan Avenue for almost 3 years. Before opening, I was renovating the space for 6 months. I spent many a day (and late, late night) in my store alone.

    All my employees were women. We NEVER had a problem with crime save for one item (that’s ONE item in three years!) shoplifted.

    I strongly believe that the environment of the store – it was clean, looked nice/aesthetically pleasing, was well-stocked/organized, and friendly – helped the feeling of safety. We were friendly with our neighbors in the block, across the street, in the neighboring blocks and streets. That made us feel like there was always someone around to help out if we needed it.

    I received a small business loan from a bank; the loan was backed by the SBA. Neither my location in Ypsilanti, nor the “crime statistics” came into question. I suggest shopping around for other investors/loans. The Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) guided me. I’d recommend talking with them.

    The Vu patrons/workers shopped my store. They were nothing short of supportive.

    If you’d like to meet to discuss my experiences, I’d be happy to do that with you. I’d love to see you downtown!

    Jennifer

  37. Robert
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Oh, damn! I didn’t realize we were going to be talking all seriously and shit.

    This might be one of my favorite threads in a long time. There are lots of interesting and intelligent comments being made. Now I feel like being serious again too.

    Regarding Deja Vu: Maybe they should be offered some incentive to move out to the Township. Then, the threat of that plan going forward can be used by the city as a bargaining chip against the Township, and the city can extort some cooperation out of them.

    Seriously though, it might not be a bad idea to try to get them to move out to say where the old Bomber Restaurant was. They’d have better parking, and a wider range of potential new businesses would find that Washington Street area more attractive.

    When it comes to the transit station, I am pretty sure you’ll never get AATA to do a damn thing about any problems going on there. It seems to me that it would help to have a city police substation right there, like the one Ann Arbor put in the parking structure on Maynard Street.

    With regard to crime statistics: Soundman, you are not mistaken. The City of Ypsilanti’s crime rates ARE considerably higher per capita than the City of Ann Arbor’s. It’s really silly to speak about crime statistics in anything but terms of ratios to total populations (or rates). It’s as goofy as saying gas is cheaper in Canada cause it’s $1.20 (per litre) right now.

  38. Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Regarding crime stats, again. Random UoM on-campus crime goes generally unreported as Ann Arbor crime, because of the Campus Police’s separate reporting policies and PR / recruiting considerations.

    UoM DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said “it is easy for a person to commit a crime on campus, then step across the street into another jurisdiction and blend into the crowd on the sidewalk”.

    These are random, personal crimes that people fear, unlike typical Ypsi criminal infighting and petty “larceny from an unlocked vehicle” incidents that pump up numbers.

    Ypsi has more crime per capita, but not the kind that scares away Ann Arborites. Those kind of crimes happen in their own backyard and unreported.

  39. Lisele
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Having worked for four years on the UM Central Campus (Church Street) I can back that up. Constant crime in the South University area. I was scared down there.

    We’ve had a few anti-gay crimes directed at us (years ago). Now everybody just likes us so goddamn much, that we’re like an Ypsi fixture. It helps that we’ve been out, visible, stable, friendly, good neighbors, who are willing to serve on city committees for 18 years.

    We live in one of the most crime-free neighborhoods (Normal Park), yet I have to point out there was a brutal beating here a couple years ago. Also Bombadill’s was robbed, don’t forget. I think what I’m saying is yes, we have some scary crime (as does Ann Arbor), but it’s completely exaggerated and over-emphasized by Ann Arborites who never miss an opportunity to trash Ypsi. I think it’s our need to have a scapegoat, an Other, to push all our unwanted and fearful attributes onto.

  40. Robert
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Excellent points, leighton. Yes, there are those and many other factors which people should try to keep in mind when they’re hearing or seeing crime statistics.

    Even details like how and where municipal boundaries are determined significantly affects crime statistics for that municipality. Cities that are able to annex suburban sprawl into their municipal boundaries lower their overall crime rates as a result. This is one of the reasons why cities like Jacksonville and Indianapolis seem unusually low on lists that purport to rank big American cities on their level of crime. Due to state and local policies, both of these cities have been able to annex huge portions of their suburban sprawl. Indianapolis has practically annexed it’s entire county. If Detroit were able to annex the rest of Wayne County, it’s rank on those “Most Dangerous Cities” list would drop significantly.

    If the City of Ypsilanti were able to annex the suburban area around it, it’s official crime rates would drop also.

  41. bee
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I want to thank all of you so much for the dialog happening here; not only is it really useful, I appreciate the support and intelligence of the conversation!

    Jennifer- I’ve definitely been all up in the SBTDC and they’re great. My situation is pretty unique as I’ve been granted a private loan. And he’s spent a fair amount of the time since he said yes trying to talk me out of it- and then the crime thing just really struck a damn chord with how ridiculous and out of proportion the numbers and the stories are; a favorite quote of mine from the Ringo Starr narrated movie The Point: “you see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear”

    and that’s true on both sides of any equation. It’s important to my success to see both sides and dig deep; I have my visceral reaction, my intuition, and I trust that, but only after doing the legwork to test the plausibility. It almost always works (exceptions: boyfriends).

    When I was a kid and couldn’t sleep (ok- I still do it) I would lay in bed and dream up various scenarios of “if I could change anything with unlimited wishes” and they usually ended up being very intense, extraordinarily detailed visioning sessions (not that I knew what ‘visioning’ was when I was 8, but hey)- and that’s how wanting to have my own cafe evolved; if I could change Roast & Toast to be exactly the way I wanted it, how would it be? And I found all these tiny details that would make the work more interesting, more fun for guests, more efficient, etc. But I never wanted to change it’s essence, just move it around some and maybe make some loft seating with a spiral staircase where people could sit and watch the crowd…

    I see the same thing with Ypsi- if we could move this here and put that there, we’d probably have a better situation. There’s plenty to work on, let’s do it!

    I take the bus in to Ypsi nearly every time I’ve come over; it’s usually after the morning rush- and it is always mellow; what are the bad times?

    thanks again everyone- see you soon.

  42. soundman
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Leighton, I don’t see why you keep bringing up the UofM thing as related to the Ypsi/AA crime stats; EMU does the same thing. Maybe i’m misreading but you seem to be saying that you think that if the UofM stats were on the site you mention (AA Paper blotter) that they would be a lot higher. Ypsi’s would also raise when you added EMU’s so the point is pretty much moot (for this particular discussion).

    Btw, you can go to both the EMU and UofM police sites and view their own daily blotters.

  43. Posted May 30, 2008 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    The difference between UoM stats and EMU’s having to do with this discussion are twofold:

    EMU is not in the middle of downtown like UoM’s main campus in AA (very relevant to the discussion of business location).

    EMU is a relatively small commuter campus (virtually abandoned at night), whereas UoM is a much larger, residential campus – big difference.

  44. soundman
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I guess our perceptions of each city is pretty different.
    Given the size of each I would say they are analogous:

    I think EMU is pretty analogous to your UofM:
    Main Street in AA is away from campus, as is Mich Ave here.
    South U caters to the student and butts campus, as does Cross St here.
    Given the size of each I don’t agree with the statement “EMU is not in the middle of downtown”. People that live in Depot Town live downtown (to me) just as much as people in Kerrytown live downtown. This is also besides the fact that a big chuck of UofM (North Campus) isn’t even “downtown”.

    EMU is of course smaller, and that goes back to my stats post of people ignoring the population in lieu of #’s . You can download the EMU police reports and see the amount of crime. Now double or triple those stats and see if they’re not more than UofM’s.

    The “abandoned at night” comment doesn’t ring true in my experience either.

  45. Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    To Edge of Sprawl,
    I know for a fact that your property taxes in the township are lower than mine in the City. I also know for a fact that you probably spend that same amount that you save in lower taxes on gas because you cannot walk for daily neccessities if you live on the Edge of Sprawl. I walk, bike and drive as little as humanly possible.

    The real estate market in Michigan is suffering right now and the property values that are plummeting the fastest are the urban sprawl properties. That trend will undoubtedly continue as gas reaches $7.00/dollars a gallon. Urbanism and sustainability are very big markets right now and people want to be close to a downtown for everyday needs. This leads me to believe that the property values within walking distances of shops and services, like the properties in the City of Ypsilanti, will undoubtedly rise in value over the next 5 to 10 years. Hmmmm, do you think that the township and city merger will be a necessity for both of us in the future???

  46. Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    The differences between UoM and EMU’s relationship to their host cities and crime are there and very relevant to the issue of opening a business in downtown Ypsi.

    Depot Town and Downtown Ypsi are nowhere near analogous to Kerrytown’s relationship with the rest of downtown Ann Arbor. (See the recent outcry against downtown Ypsi’s Elbow Room’s threatened move to Depot Town. They even have separate DDAs!)

    Though I have just proven that EMU’s crime stats are less relevant than UoM’s in relation to their downtowns, I did read EMU and UoM’s crime stats. And UoM looks shockingly like the “perceived Ypsi” on paper:

    A thing like on-campus forcible rapes would be a big story locally, and would be reported all over the local news. So none happened on UoM’s campus in 2006, right? There were 2. And that was a low year.

  47. Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I feel less safe in downtown Ypsi than I do in downtown Ann Arbor. I am talking about perception here, not actual safety. The biggest difference is foot traffic. The more people around, the safer I feel.

    The presence of illegal drug activity makes me feel unsafe. When I lived in Ann Arbor my next door neighbors were dealing drugs for a couple years. However, I never saw crack vials, needles or other drug refuse on my street as Mark reported seeing this spring. If I had, I would have felt less safe than I did just seeing cars pulling up all the time.

    I do not find prostitutes on the street threatening, and I guess the johns don’t bother me either, but it does create an atmosphere of seediness I dislike. I have also been told by more than one of my recovering drug addict friends that the quickest way to find drugs when you don’t have a connection is to pick up a prostitute.

  48. Edge of the Sprawl
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Karen M.,

    Short answer – absolutely not.

    When I moved from the city to the township, I doubled the size of my home and halved the taxes. When I lived in the city, I could not walk to obtain daily necessities. In fact, I don’t know anyone who walks home from the grocery store carrying their packages. I needed to drive a long distance to work each day when I lived in the city and where I live now. There were few employment opportunities in Ypsilanti City then, now, and in the next ten years. I drive the same amount of miles now as then and I am even closer to many of the businesses I frequent. The businesses have been forced outside of the city limits due to the excessive taxes. I shopped in the township when I lived in the city. I have no need to drive to Ypsilanti City to obtain any necessities.

    The vast majority of people in our state live in townships, not urban environments. The American dream for most people is to buy a home in a quiet, peaceful neighborhood where there is close proximity to nature and an abundance of open spaces. Ypsilanti township currently has about 3000 residential homes in the planning stage or under construction. Somehow, the real estate developers and new home buyers haven’t yet got the word that we want dense urban environments.

    Contrary to what some persons have speculated, I have sidewalks,and there are bike paths, and numerous recreational options a very short distance from my home. I don’t miss the city one iota and I’m grateful that I got out when I did. I have a strong sense of community and want both the city and the township to do well. For the city to prosper, they can’t keep doing things the way they always have. When the desire for government services exceeds your ability to pay for those services, the proper response is to decrease your appetite and reduce expenditures. I don’t carry a balance on my credit cards, I don’t have a large debt besides my mortgage, and I don’t expect anyone else to pay for my lifestyle choices. When gas hits $7.00 a gallon, I will reduce my spending in other areas in order to get to work and back. The township and city merger is not a necessity for either one of us. However, merging with the city, raising the taxes and level of government services, and adopting the economic practices of Ypsilanti city government would destroy the economic well-being and future prosperity of Ypsilanti township. It’s not an us vs. them mentality, it’s an educational opportunity. If you covet the economic soundness of the township, petition your city council to adopt similar government practices. Don’t seek to destroy the opportunities that we have built.

  49. Posted May 31, 2008 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Kirk and Edge of Sprawl are onto the truth:

    Ypsi is perceived to be more dangerous, kind of like air travel (as compared to car travel). I won’t go into the color of unsafe aircraft for fear of coming dangerously close to the touchy subject of race (a subject that might have been glossed over in discussions of perceptions of Ypsi.)

    The City of Ypsi and most other Michigan cities are horribly overtaxing. Though it’s not an exoneration, urban areas can’t be policed or maintained the same sparse way a sprawl district can.

    Predicting a crash, I left a job in the Township’s housing industry. Now my old colleagues tell me it’s getting much worse than I had anticipated. Construction starts have slowed to a crawl compared to 2 years ago in Ann Arbor. And the same pattern will be seeping into Ypsi Twnsp., after the cheaper land is snatched up by people who had their hearts set on Pittsfield, but decided to settle for Ypsi / Superior. When that boomlet dies (died?), and people just leave for better prospects. Then townships will be facing some serious problems on par with the City’s current ones. But that exodus will not be into downtown, walkable Ypsi, because there are no services. There are no services because there are no breaks / incentives to build them.

    That “Ann Arbor Style” cheesecake bakery I mentioned trying to open on Huron is apparently getting challenges to its C of O, due to strict zoning issues that would close most of the rest of downtown businesses if similarly applied. Ah, progress.

  50. Emma
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I lived in Ann Arbor from 1991 until 1994 or so when I moved to the Carpenter/Packard area (Scenic Lake Apartments) for a year then to River’s Edge(on Laforge) in Ypsi. I lived in Ypsilanti (except for a short period of time in Southern Texas) until last year. I owned a house in the city which I sold because of the high taxes and still own a house in the township which I rent out because I cannot sell it for any reasonable amount. The house next door was just foreclosed on. The owners took the privacy fence that divided our properties in addition to the doors to their garage. I drove by there yesterday. There is garbage strewn all over the front yard and the grass is about two feet high. I feel bad for my tenants and am pretty sure they will not renew their lease. I don’t blame them…
    While I lived in Ann Arbor I had a microwave stolen from inside my house. I had no issues in either of the Ypsilanti apartment complexes I lived in. While renting a house near depot town my neighbor’s garage was broken into and all of his tools were stolen. At my house in the city my husband and I caught people trying to break into our cars at least three times. My car was successfully broken into at a friends house on Huron St. my bag was stolen which (unfortunatly for me) had a large amount of cash in it at that moment. My garage was broken into, a motorcycle and riding gear were stolen in the middle of winter, the bike was left doen the street but none of the helmets or jackets were recovered. At the house in the township, during a party when the front door was unlocked and at least 15 people were around, someone (not from the party) came into the house and stole a duffle bag containing everything a visiting friend had brought with him from California. A couple of months later my garage door was kicked in, an air compressor, nail gun and various other tools were stolen. Someone also started stealing my mail, at one point finding a credit card access check which thay cashed for $3600.00 at a local bank. The house in the township is near a park. There was gunfire many nights…
    I always felt like the thefts were partly our fault, if we had just triple locked the doors or something that they would not have happened. My husband could not deal with it though. He became extremely paranoid and couldn’t sleep. Every noise would send him into the yard looking for whoever had robbed us or was planning to do it again. For the sake of his sanity we moved west of Chelsea. Our neighbors all wave to us, we don’t even have locks on some of our doors and can leave whatever we want outside for as long as we want.
    I miss Ypsi. though. I miss DaLat and the French Quarter. I miss having a 15 minute drive to work. I miss seeing people and being able to go out after 8pm. I would move back in a second (although it would have to be the second after I got divorced)… My point being; there are people who love Ypsilanti with all of its faults and people who never will. If you are having problems with financing a business in Ypsilanti, try to find another lender, there are banks with branches downtown, maybe one of them can help you. If you are just wondering if there is crime in Ypsi. well, there is, but don’t let that deter you. There are plenty of Ypsilanti loving people to patronize your business. It is doubtful that you will ever get the people who “don’t walk down there at night” to show up. I would do my best to ignore them.

  51. Black Jake
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I like that the perception of crime in Ypsi is worse than the actual crime. Keeps out the unworthy.

  52. Black Jake
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    (not you, Emma)

  53. rodneyn
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Some township governments (such as nearby Pittsfield and Canton Twps.) have relied on residential development and continuing growth to fund part of their General Fund budgets. In addition, private homeowners associations for new developments in townships often provide a portion of the “public” services (such as enforcement of HOA covenants and deed restrictions, and maintenance of parks, sidewalks, and roads) that would otherwise be provided by the township government. In this way, township taxes in these growth communities have stayed artificially low.

    Actually, the total “tax” cost of living in townships may exceed city property tax costs for comparable properties. First, township residences often have multiple fees and charges levied against them, in addition to those “low” township taxes. These include special assessments for streetlights and road improvements, HOA fees for maintenance of “public” areas, high hook-up and cost recovery charges for water and sewer infrastructure, and other non-tax (and non-deductible) charges.

    I once compared my City taxes against a friend’s Township taxes, fees, and assessments for a house with a similar assessed value. We found out to our mutual surprise that my friend was paying more money (by a couple hundred dollars per year) than me. Whether that still holds true now, I don’t know.

    As for those “growth” townships that rely in part of taxes from new development, this model (while attractive to new residents) is not sustainable. Places like Canton are now going through the same difficult adjustment that Livonia and Westland (former townships) already went through as that revenue stream dries up.

    For all of the flaws that the City of Ypsilanti may have, the opportunities and benefits far exceed them.

  54. MaryD
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I moved to the city from the township to provide my children a better environment to grow in. We were out where there were no sidewalks, natural gas lines or sewers. It is the tax pop-up that really impacted our taxes when we moved. Our city home and neighborhood has provided my children the ability to walk to school, friends homes on the block, city parks, the pool, library, ice cream shop and now they are grown, they walk/bike to work and EMU. I walk down the street to work and regularly bring groceries home from the food coop (a very successful business in the city). Did I mention my great neighbors! My lifestyle does not threaten any township dweller’s way of life, yet it is very wasteful to repeat the same services. We share a school district quite successfully and even those repeated services may get too expensive.

  55. MaryD
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Regarding crime in the neighborhood, my EMU student daughter was out running with a friend late Thurs. night. The police drove up and actually stopped them warning “Do you know what kind of neighborhood you are in?” She had to hold back a laugh as she told him “Yes, this is my neighborhood, we live up the street and we are fine.” I was unaware of her running that night at 11:00 PM, and I am glad our boys in blue are patrolling, but I find this an interesting addition to this thread about crime.

  56. egpnet
    Posted June 1, 2008 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Great article in the NYT Sunday Week In Review section about how the stimulus package is going to paying down debts and buying “stuff” made in China … not helping the economy.

    Another article in the same section describing how states and cities throughout the country are in the process of cutting budgets for their next fiscal year … eliminating services, laying off police and fire, closing parks and generally reducing significantly the quality of life in their cities, counties and states. It’s about to happen everywhere in America, because we simply have not enough money to keep up with the rising costs of salaries, pensions, infrastructure repairs and the like.

    Sprawl … you’re next.

  57. Edge of the Sprawl
    Posted June 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    You still don’t get it Egpnet –

    The City is next. Their backs are to the wall and they have no other option. City officials who tell you that the City can consolidate services with the township and continue excessive spending habits don’t get it. Unless the city makes drastic cuts they will be in receivership in two years. O.K. – I said it.

    The township gets it. They haven’t allowed spending to get out of control in the first place. They made cuts in their policing services last year. Next year they may make cuts in the millage rate because so many households are hurting in this economy. The township has the highest number of home foreclosures in the county. The answer isn’t to go in “halfsies” with the most expensive local government in the region.

    The economy sucks. This generation is the first in the history of our nation that has a lower standard of living than their parents. Social Security will be bankrupt before I reach retirement age.

    Tell me – whose fault is it that salaries and pensions in local government rise faster than the rate of inflation, more than 20 years after the laws passed that limited the growth of tax revenue to the rate of inflation? Local elected officials ignored the inevitable, assuming that when they approached bankruptcy that the State would bail them out. The State is not in a position to bail anyone out, they’re looking for the Feds to bail them out.

    The days of big government are over. We need to stop electing officials at every level who keep proposing more and more ways to increase taxes. You seem to get some sort of satisfaction stating that the township is next to have fiscal problems. The problems with our nation’s economy cross all the boundaries of state and local governments.

    MaryD.,

    The township does not operate a school district. Our kids attend schools in 4 separate districts. None of the four districts have test scores anywhere near the median of the state. Giving the public schools more money results in the hiring of additional administrators and increasing teacher salaries with no difference in student test scores. I wouldn’t call it a successful merger in any of the four districts.

    I was told that there are ten administrators in the Ypsilanti Schools, each making more than 6 digit incomes, who have retired from the school district, are drawing full pensions, and are working as private contractors for the district in their previous positions. In this capacity, they don’t pay into the pension fund for other school employees. Who’s holding the school board accountable for these practices? Who do you think will have to come up with the cash to pay the unfunded pensions of the majority of current employees? Ask any parent. They’ll tell you other schools have problems, but their kids are receiving a “good education”. Makes you want to scream (or perhaps cry).

  58. egpnet
    Posted June 1, 2008 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    MY point, everyone, is that we are ALL going to have to suck it in. Not just cities who have overspent and continue to try and come up with revenue to keep up appearances, but every OTHER city and township and county and state, even those in the black. For so many, many reasons … many of our plans in this country for a propsperous decade for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren will be slashed, because our federal, state and municipal governments have made commitments (locally and Iraq), our corporations have made commitments (unions and executives), even our sports teams, whom few of us can afford to attend, much less afford to pay to erect their stadiums.

    Where we will end up after the bubble really bursts is somewhere back at a reasonable rate of growth and a reasonable level of services … and most of us will be back living in cities or much closer than many of us are now. In the meantime we have to learn to make better choices for ourselves, for our neighborhoods and cities and for our leadership.

  59. rodneyn
    Posted June 1, 2008 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Edge of the Sprawl has a VERY GOOD (if a bit off-topic) point about the cost of government. Our surrounding township governments (Ypsilanti and Superior) are well managed (despite the political fireworks from the township hall to the south) and fiscally responsible. As an example, Superior Township made the decision this year to REDUCE the tax burden on their residents, despite facing the same tight budget/revenue scenario all local governments are dealing with right now.

    In contrast, our fine City Council is following the recommendation of Mr. Insulated Himself (our fine City Manager) to RAISE our local property tax rate!

  60. Posted June 1, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Back to the perception of crime in Ypsi–

    I’ve leased property in downtown Ypsi for most of the last 8 years, (VGKids was originally on Pearl, across from BW3’s at the time, and now resides across the street from Bombadill’s), and in all that time, I’ve yet to experience or witness a violent crime.

    Walking alone at night, there’s the recurring, ‘you alright?’ when you pass someone on the sidewalk, and though I know its an offer to buy drugs, it comes off as more friendly than anything.

    As a whole, Ypsi feels safe to me, and as other’s have noted, there’s more of a camaraderie among strangers. Smile at someone in downtown Ypsi, and you’ll most likely get a smile back. Not so in other downtowns 10 miles west…

    I’ve been waiting with baited breath for an awesome cafe to open downtown. Now as long as we’ve got a couple of vegan options on the menu, I can guarantee some business from up VG way.

    Welcome!

  61. Posted June 2, 2008 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Since this is about perceptions rather than reality, I shouldn’t post this, but…from http://www.areaconnect.com/crime/compare.htm

    2006 Crimes per 100,000 People:
    AA, Ypsi, National Avg
    Murder: 0 18.4 7
    Forcible Rape: 28.32 59.69 32.2
    Robbery: 75.2 349 205.8
    Agg. Assault: 200.9 849.5 336.5
    Burglary: 558.5 1639.3 813.2
    Larceny Theft: 1875.4 3733.1 2601.7
    Vehicle Theft: 153.1 578.6 501.5

    Scarier places:
    Detroit,Flint
    Murder: 47.3 45.7
    Forcible Rape: 67.05 120.92
    Robbery: 818.6 530.2
    Agg. Assault: 1486 1899.3
    Burglary: 2050.3 2585.9
    Larceny Theft: 2406.8 2991.8
    Vehicle Theft: 2591.1 1286.2

    Less Scary places:
    Chelsea,Saline
    Murder: 0 0
    Forcible Rape: 0 0
    Robbery: 0 11.4
    Agg. Assault: 62.6 22.7
    Burglary: 355 295.3
    Larceny Theft: 2505.7 1760.6
    Vehicle Theft: 104.4 34.1

    News flash: Income and crime are inversely correlated.

    On the other hand, in Ypsi you’d still have to live there on average more than 10 years before you experienced any of those crimes…or a hundred years before you were shot, beat up or forcibly raped.

  62. Edwardo
    Posted June 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    As those statistics are “per 100,000 people” does that mean that our murders have been multiplied by 5? (Our population within the city is a little over 20,000.) If so, it’s pretty fucked up and misleading.

  63. egpnet
    Posted June 2, 2008 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I take it to mean our numbers are 5X what they should be compared to the national average.

    Remember, these are reported crimes. Since YPD and EMU are logging in all calls … and A2 and U-M filter and juggle their stats … who knows?

  64. Black Jake
    Posted June 2, 2008 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    So all the people that got shot, beat up, or forcibly raped in Ypsi were residents for over 100 years?

  65. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 2, 2008 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Edwardo,

    Yes, it’s multiplied. Here’s the straight numbers from the same site:

    Actual Reported Population and Crimes:
    Ypsilanti, MI Ann Arbor, MI
    Population: 21,778-112,989
    Murder: 4-0
    Forcible Rape: 13-32
    Robbery: 76-85
    Aggravated Assault: 185-227
    Burglary: 357-631
    Larceny Theft: 813-2119
    Vehicle Theft: 126-173

  66. egpnet
    Posted June 2, 2008 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Yah, Jake, the seniors take a big hit.

    Actually …

    Thanks, OEC … I feel safer already.

  67. mark
    Posted June 2, 2008 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    And, I’d like to point out, if those are 2007 numbers that OEC is sharing, one of those 4 murders was perpetrated by an undercover police officer.

  68. Posted June 3, 2008 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I read that most cities in Michigan as well as across the nation are having to downsize their police departments. Ypsilanti shouldn’t experience rises in crime disproportionate to other municipalities as a result of our budget problems. Whew.

  69. Brackache
    Posted June 3, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    If we only cut the murderer cops, the crime rate should decrease.

  70. egpenet
    Posted June 3, 2008 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    If we had an ordinance that restricted murdering to leap years, with a cap at 10, that might help the stats. Once we hit 10, we have to stop, or else.

  71. Brackache
    Posted June 3, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Or else we’ll have big posters of Granholm scowling at us disapprovingly over the words “NOT cool, Ypsilanti.”

  72. nearby
    Posted June 3, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Brackache, I lost count, how many murders in the Township and Ypsi in the last 5 years have there been by just such drug dealers as Mr Ware? I know of 2 within the last 2 years, just a small number of blocks of the Keg (on the Township side, although I think one of the shootees made it to Prospect).

    Oh, maybe that’s different, just homies hangin’ together celebrating their culture???

    Get your priorities straight, whomever you are and whatever you do for your daily living.
    You act and live the lifestyle, you die in the lifestyle.

  73. Brackache
    Posted June 3, 2008 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    nearby: I don’t understand your question, because I don’t know who Mr Ware is. I was piggybacking off mark’s and John’s comments in an attempt at humor. Should I feel rebuked about something or continue floating along blithely?

  74. nearby
    Posted June 4, 2008 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    ah, I see, the murdering cops joke affecting the murder rate is a reference to the shooting death of a drug dealer during a sting.

    http://www.ypsilanticourier.com/stories/050307/loc_20070503002.shtml

    maybe that one needed some research before you decided to join in or not.

  75. Brackache
    Posted June 4, 2008 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Then again, maybe I’m leaving comments on a blog.

  76. Brackache
    Posted June 4, 2008 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Nah, I’m good with unresearched offhand comments, thanks. It’s a blog.

  77. Brackache
    Posted June 4, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    On the other hand, having just finished reading the article, I fail to see why it was included in Ypsi’s murder stats since it was judged a justified defensive shooting. Killing someone in self defence isn’t murder, legally or morally, so it shouldn’t be included in the stats.

  78. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 4, 2008 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure it amounts to nothing, but given this thread, it was slightly amusing that the A2 News just printed the crime headline:

    “Ypsilanti man robber” followed by “Ypsilanti man beaten, robbed of medication”

    As you read on, you find “A man was beaten and robbed of his prescription pills outside a store on Ann Arbor’s west side Monday night, city police said.”

    And, you find the assailant retreated into an A2 apartment complex.

    So, instead of the headline, “Man assualted in Ann Arbor’s west side” we get “Ypsilanti man beaten.”

    It’s probably nothing. I just thought, given “Mike doesn’t have a clever name’s” earlier comment, the timing was funny.

    Laugh amongst yourselves.

  79. J-Bird
    Posted June 5, 2008 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I think that it is definitely something (adding the city’s name on the headline). It is the same as (for one example) adding the gender or race of those who commit random acts of gun violence if they are not white. I.e. we rarely see “young white males shoot up high school/family/shopping mall” when they are the main people who commit these crimes.

    I’ve just spent a while reading these comments and I am enjoying the thread. What I take out of it is that those interested should come together, go to the newspapers and ask them to change the way they write their headlines (or stories, or whatever) because you think they are perpetrating myths about Ypsilanti. Talk to your neighborhood associations and police about NOT publishing every single “crime” that happens [as an aside my take on crime in the usa as a whole is that things are not “way worse than they used to be”. Death, crime, tsunami’s have occurred in terrible force since the beginning of time and it is only the global world we live in now that can report horrific things from around the world in a split moment constantly that makes us think the world is getting more violent every second. That and we lock up everyone for petty crimes and now have a prison population of 55,000 in this state and that makes the general public think we have violent people waiting to “get us” [who is us?] at every moment when most people are in prison because of petty non-violent crimes], and, basically take it to the streets. I think this blog is important but I also think you need to talk to people in person. When your friends/family/landlords make statements about the crime/violence in Ypsilanti tell them what you are writing here. So much of it is so powerful!

    And, I agree with whoever noticed that this thread has a lack of focus on the racial tensions of Ypsilanti – tensions which I believe permeate and perpetuate a lot of the feelings of “ypsi is scary”.

    Sorry this post was kind of ackward and random.
    I hope the sandwich place comes in! More food in Ypsi- mmmm… food…

  80. Posted June 5, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    after reading Ol E’ Cross blurb about the A2 news reporting that a Ypsi man (who is actually an ann arbor man in ann arbor) who is beaten I would urge all of you to contact Art Aisner 994-6833 and tell him this must stop, please leave a message as i did. I left him a voice message and if enough of us does the same they will get the idea that they cannot get away with this – remember perception is reality. Why was it not reported that this crime happened on the west side of ann arbor???? If we do not correct the Ann Arbor News this will go on all the time.

  81. egpenet
    Posted June 5, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    What a great excuse after all these years without a REAL local newspaper to cancel my subscription to the A2 News. Perfect!

    Thwe threat of lost revenue is all they will understand.

    BTW – the best coupons come in the mail, anyway.

  82. Posted June 16, 2008 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    just good news…
    opened my business bank account today, operation beezy’s funding begun. Thanks nice folks at the Ypsi Bank of A2 for enduring my excitability…

    in other news, today was the first day I haven’t been hustled for a cigarette in Ypsi.

    and I found an apartment. and the sky is blue the grass is green, la la la!

  83. mark
    Posted June 17, 2008 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Bee!

    So, should we assume you got the lease for the space too? What’s the next step? When will we have a chance to give you our hard earned money in exchange for food and drink?

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