race, ypsilanti and the way both are treated in the press

The following comes from our friend Ol’ East Cross, who left it recently in a thread about the perception of crime in Ypsilanti.

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 robbed” 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 assaulted 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.

Local real estate developer Karen Maurer, for one, isn’t laughing. She’s suggesting that people call the “Ann Arbor News” and complain.

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  1. Posted June 6, 2008 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    How about a mass flood of “letters to the editor” about this? To the AA News’s credit, they will publish letters that criticize them, but it would be interesting if they would publish one that accuses them of racism/ypsism. I’m going to write one tonight.

  2. Stella
    Posted June 6, 2008 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I think I’ve said this here before, but good luck getting ANYWHERE complaining to the Snooze.
    Several years ago they stated emphatically (in a half page, front of section article, with pictures of both) that my mother committed suicide and that my father assisted (which he would have done if necessary for her condition but DID NOT at the time of her actual death).

    When we got understandably PO’d, they offered a buried, one line, retraction. And, were shitty about that.
    If it had been the fifties, I would have then OWNED the Snooze and given you and UBU both, all the press you could stand.

  3. Posted June 6, 2008 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Mr. Aisner left me a voice message this morning and all he stated was that the victim was clearly an Ypsilanti man with a legitimate Ypsilanti address. He also stated that the paper reported that the crime happened in Ann Arbors west side at an Ann Arbor establishment, below the headline. I think there has been a study that most people only read the headlines and these headlines are negitavely impacting Ypsilanti’s growth and image.

    My point is this if this crime happened to an Ann Arbor man behind Pub 13 do you think the headline would read “Ann Arbor man beaten?” I doubt it. It would most likely read “Man beaten in Ypsilanti”. Cousins Vinyl, if you write an editorial can you include the fact that the Ann Arbor News is racist against Ypsilanti? I am going to write an editorial myself when I find the extra time.

  4. BIlly
    Posted June 6, 2008 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Say what you will, but there are VERY few places in Ypsi that I would walk around in late at night compared to Ann Arbor. Having lived and spent time in both A2 and Ypsi for almost 30 years, sorry kids, Ypsi clearly has a much higher crime rate. There are no locations in Ann Arbor that have prostitutes walking the street on a regular basis for one. Hasn’t been for over 20 years.

    Also, the attack in Ann Arbor happened to be on South Maple, in a very well known low-income area of town…behind a liquor store….it’s an area where crime IS common in Ann Arbor.

    Just accept that Ypsi has higher crime. They have many more murders a year than Ann Arbor does. There are NO neighbor hoods in Ann Arbor where gunfire is a common and unsurprising sound. Go ahead and say I’m ignorant or some other baseless comment, I’ve heard enough gunfire from living on Grove for a period, and don’t even TRY to tell me gunfire is a rarity in areas like West Willow or MacArthur. By the way, I consider hearing 2-3 gunshots a week common gunfire….considering there shouldn’t be any gunfire at all.

    I don’t even care if the Tucker was made there…it’s not anymore. Historical value doesn’t mean something has to be low crime. Depot town is the nice area of Ypsi and also the smallest part of the entire city. Some of the houses around it are appraised at values that some Ann Arbor homes look affordable. The rest of the area’s housing……..

    So enjoy your super low taxes, rent, housing costs; compared to Ann Arbor. Sure it sucks now if you’ve lived there for 20 years and are trying to get away (from what again?), but it’s FINE for people that want to move there.

    Ypsi residents think Ann Arbor has it out for them when they can’t accept the reality of the town they live in.

    Maybe if there wasn’t so much violent crime to report on in Ypsi it wouldn’t look so bad…….

    Oh and don’t even get me started on the Ypsi police department, even they commit crimes.

  5. Robert
    Posted June 6, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Ann Arbor has a news paper?

  6. Posted June 7, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Perception and anecdotes could easily paint Ypsi as dangerous to Average Ann Arborites – who could be just as affected by random crime in downtown AA as downtown Ypsi.

    Ypsi crime isn’t random “kill whitey” crime. Anyone who thinks otherwise might possibly be self-centered, oh wait…

    The AA News is great at Ann Arbor cheerleading, which is commendable for a local paper with not much else to do other than “Go Blue!”. (Though…do we need another headline like “Ann Arbor 2nd Best City in Upper Midwest to Raise Albino Gerbils for Profit”?). Unfortunately, their headlines have also tended to tear down others to drive that “We’re No. 1” point home. They need a straw / Bogeyman as a foil. And Ypsi’s it (and sometimes “riot town” Lansing).

    We’ll just keep Bogeying along, thanks. You can cower behind Kohl’s. And pay up.

  7. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 7, 2008 at 11:43 pm | Permalink


    I don’t really give a crap if Ypsi has a higher crime rate than Ann Arbor (I, for one, believe it does). Ann Arbor has a higher crime rate than Barton Hills or Chelsea, does that mean A2 is a dangerous place to live and do business?

    My much previous post point was that you’re more likely to be injured in a traffic accident than by living in Ypsilanti. I.e., lets be rational about fears. It makes more sense to run from driving than to run from Ypsi.

    The A2 News thing is a little bizarre, you have to admit, that a man was robbed in A2 and the headline read Ypsilanti.

    But, if there’s anywhere you haven’t explored in Ypsi that’d you’d like to, I’m willing to walk with you, any time of day or night, and hold your sweaty palm. Just don’t squeeze too tight every time a woodpecker starts a ratta-tap-tappin or a may have to beat you a little, and we both know what the headlines will say the next day…

  8. Posted June 8, 2008 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    OEC is right, much of the “crime” talk seems to have a component of irrationality.

    It’s less important to me how much occurs as where it occurs. I think the problem is in the arbitrariness of using city/township boundaries to keep statistics, which doesn’t lend itself to an accurate characterization of the community as a whole.

    If you live in a high crime neighborhood and worry about your safety, I would imagine it matters less whether it is in Ypsi or Ann Arbor than the fact that the neighborhood is high crime.

    Same problem with Detroit. There are areas that have wonderful, beautiful neighborhoods, in both higher and lower income areas, as well as areas that are outright dangerous. But the fact that some places are more dangerous than others doesn’t necessarily make Detroit a “dangerous” city, yet people tend to think of it that way.

    Bllly, I walk around Ypsi at night all the time. People walk their dogs in my neighborhood at 11 and later on a daily basis. Yes, I once had my child’s wagon stolen out of my back yard, but that could happen in Ann Arbor, in Grosse Pointe, in Chelsea, anywhere. It doesn’t make my neighborhood any more dangerous than anyone else’s.

  9. BIlly
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    If you feel Ypsi is so safe at night……why does every single pizza joint in Ypsi have a list of areas they do NOT go to after dark?

    Not a single pizza place in Ann Arbor has an area they won’t deliver to at night.

    Ypsi has areas that Ann Arbor doesn’t, places that you just plain don’t walk around in at night. Heck, Ypsi has places you’re not supposed to be white in. Call it racist if you will, but I had a delivery driver get pulled over by the cops as a suspected crack customer because he was white in the wrong area. Harris road of all places, a place some people would consider decent, certainly not in the range of West Willow or the Southside.

    Again, this isn’t Ann Arbor having it out for Ypsi. This is just the reality that is Ypsilanti. The snooze is far from anything I’ve ever used to base my opinions on Ypsi, I could do that just by working and living there.

    And OEC, please be my guest, take a stroll through West Willow or far up MacArthur at 1am….by yourself. In fact I dare you to spend 1 hour just walking around there at 1am. If you don’t get stopped and harassed by the cops, or outright robbed I’d be very surprised. I’ll keep an eye out in the police beat for you.

  10. American
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Hey Billy,

    Ann Arbor cabs didn’t used to have to go to Hikone or Arrow Wood housing complexes and neither would most pizza delivery drivers. Maybe it’s changed now, this info is dated 10 years. I wouldn’t walk alone after dark on some areas of Maple either. I remember a time when Ann St. – just blocks away from the police station – was not a place white people were welcome. Wouldn’t walk alone through the Arb at night, or Gallup park, or anywhere near the diag. Don’t recall any reports of people getting jumped on Eastern campus by a group of young “have-nots”. Don’t kid yourself – Ann Arbor has plenty of places where it is not safe to walk alone at night.

  11. Sonic Reducer
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I was confronted and assaulted by two white guys I never met in the middle of Maynard street outside the parking structure in Ann Arbor in broad daylight when I was 17. I’ve also been confronted and assaulted in Chelsea by white guys in the middle of the woods. I’ve not been confronted or assaulted once in Ypsi, and my job takes me everywhere there is to go in this town, alone, with money. All that’s happened to me here so far in the past 5-6 years is I’ve been solicited by a prostitute, and my neighbor’s lying brat kid (also white, for whom it may concern) chucked a rock through my back windshield accidently and wouldn’t admit it.

    That proves nothing, but that’s my personal 1st-hand experience, for what it’s worth.

  12. Posted June 10, 2008 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Let me be the first:

    That is racist, all around.

    Ann Arborite racism colors the town’s attitude towards Ypsi, and people in Ypsi are racist to each other.

    Many times, my Ann Arbor clients would not allow my crews to work at their house when they were away, specifically because the crews were “not white”.

    When inspecting a house to rent on the east side of Ypsi, the current residents assumed the landlord would be glad that we were “not black”.

    The bizarre headlining techniques of AA News are a catalyst to shore up AA’s perception of Ypsi, a perception rooted in fear of “the other” living in a town that is too close – and too similar.

  13. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 8:49 pm | Permalink


    MacArthur? West Willow? Oh…you’re talking about the Township. Yah. That’s a different municipality. Those motherfuckers are crazy out there. I won’t even drive wouldn’t go anywhere in the Township. Even in the middle of the day, it’s a little too dark for me (nod, nod, wink, wink).

    Thankfully, since moving here I have noticed that the A2 News, at least, has begun to note the difference by adding “Township” to its crime blotter headlines.

  14. Posted June 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Guess what – the only time I have been robbed was when I lived as a college student on S. Division, attending U of M, in Ann Arbor. My friends and I were at the bar, I was driven home at 2am to find that my whole apartment was looted – the tv, cd player, my jewelry (as little as I had), my cd’s and everything else they could steal was gone. I have lived in Ypsilanti for 15 years and haven’t had anything happen to me or my family, except my child’s bike was stolen, and the YPD found it and returned it within one hour. So, Billy, I guess your perception of crime and mine are completely different as well as you racist comments. Please stay in Ann Arbor in “your no crime existence” (good one) because it is people like you who drew me to Ypsilanti.

  15. Posted June 11, 2008 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    I think the specific article in the AA News was headlined poorly. I think the AA News didn’t respond adequately to Karen’s phone call.

    But, by and large, I think the AA News covers Ypsilanti fairly well. Has this issue gotten blown out of proportion?

    The reputation Ypsilanti has for excessive crime, is indeed unfair. It’s not the AA New’s fault though, I don’t think. In fact, I don’t think it’s really the fault of any one person/entity.

    What is more important, is this: what needs to be done to change the perception? I think someone in the Ypsilanti police department, or someone equally experience with crime statistics should put together some research on the topic. If some crime in Ypsilanti is high, compared to, say, Ann Arbor, then we should work on it.

    City Council, City administration, chamber of commerce, and the DDA’s should put together a PR blitz to dispel the perception, using the compiled statistics. We should promote our city as the wonderful place it is to live and work in.

    Let’s stop complaining about the problem and do something to change it.

  16. mark
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Here’s an idea for the campaign:

    “Ypsilanti – You’re Far Less Likely to be Beaten to Death than You Think!”

  17. Erin
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Billy – I worked for a pizza chain in Ann Arbor for about a decade, in several different stores. Every single store I worked in had a list of places they wouldn’t go after dark.

    I also lived in Ann Arbor before I lived in Ypsi – I’ll take Ypsi, crime and all.

  18. Andy C
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Karen – I did find your Heavy Metal CDs, stolen from your truck, on my lawn last year.

    Leighton – You said in one of your posts here that nothing ever happened to your car in Ypsi but I once saw some one pee on your van in the parking lot next to the Elbow Room. I didn’t know them.

    With that, I’ve also had more stuff stolen in Ann Arbor than Ypsi too, and I lived in Ypsi a lot longer.

  19. Posted June 11, 2008 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Andy C,
    Yes your are right. I forgot all about that but considering I forgot to lock my vehicle, my mistake, and the cd’s were worth at most $5.00 dollars, that incident slipped my mind. I still do miss that Alice in Chains cd though.

  20. Posted June 11, 2008 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Looks like it was the summer of 2005 that my neighborhood in Ann Arbor suffered a spree of random assaults. 30-odd cases of (typically) lone, male pedestrians (or occasionally even people sitting on their front porches) were jumped by 2 to 8 people and beaten, often just for the fun of it – some included taking a wallet or cell phone,but often not even that. As a pedestrian on a grad student schedule, typically walking home around 10-11 pm, I was far more concerned for my safety then than at any time while I’ve lived in Ypsi.

    Further, my co-op in Ann Arbor tended to have break-ins a few times a year. They’d steal everything from video games to toasters.

    And that time the restaurant at the end of the block (yes, still in Ann Arbor) was held up, and the police spent the rest of the night circling the block shining floodlights into our yards because they couldn’t find the guy? Classic.

    Sure, crime happens in Ypsi – but I saw a lot more of it in Ann Arbor. It’s perceptions that matter – and I saw a lot more random and violent crime living in A2 (30+ beatings for the fun of it?) than I’ve ever had to worry about here in Ypsi, kthx.

  21. Posted June 11, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    That was one of our drummers urinating- the ER’s bathroom scares him. The tour van is his 2nd home / toilet / mother.

  22. egpenet
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Let’s start a letter writing campaign to the A2 News around the theme …

    “Why doesn’t Ann Arbor DO something about its crime!? Especially all the unreported rapes, muggings and student molestations!? Huh? It’s giving the whole County the wrong image. Get the job done, or we’ll move to Ypsi.”

  23. egpenet
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    The unsafest place in Ann Arbor is in the stands at the Notre Dame football game surrounded by drunk Notre Dame fans.

  24. Lisele
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The thing I find hilarious is the unexamined nature of the prejudice. It’s just TRUE that Ypsi is dangerous and Ann Arbor is not — and don’t bother me with the facts. I know a number of people in Ann Arbor who actually bought a microscopic house on a tiny lot in a nasty part of town rather than even take a look at Normal Park! When I mentioned the gorgeous trees in my neighborhood, the historic houses, the nearby pool, the numerous community gardens, the diversity, the nearness to downtown, the bus routes, the neighborliness — their eyes just glazed over. Too bad — as they say, bigotry injures all parties to it.

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