This weekend’s many violent crimes, what they mean about our community, and how we should respond

While I was away this past weekend, it would seem all hell broke loose in Ypsilanti. An Eastern Michigan University student athlete by the name of Demarius Reed was shot to death in an apparent robbery on Friday morning, after leaving a party at the University Green Apartments, at the 700 block of West Clark Road, near the intersection of Leforge and Green. Also on Friday morning, campus police were called to EMU’s Walton Residence Hall to investigate a dice game that had escalated into a fight, in which one student was robbed. And, later that night, yet another EMU student reported being beaten. According to the student, who was hospitalized as a result of the attack, he was walking though the parking lot of the Peninsular Place Apartments, not too far from where Demarious Reed was killed less than 24 hours earlier, when he was set upon by a group of five or six men in an older silver van. The same van full of men, it would appear, may have also responsible for the severe beating and robbery of another EMU student early Sunday morning, in the parking lot of Abe’s Coney Island, just off of Michigan Avenue. And, over this same weekend, there were two instances of rape reported by EMU students – both of which allegedly took place in EMU’s Putnam Residence Hall… I hesitate to bring any of this up, as 1) I don’t feel as though these isolated events necessarily prove that our community is becoming significantly more dangerous, and 2) I don’t want to further feed the imaginations of those who already feel as though Ypsilanti is an unsafe community, but I feel as though not mentioning it would be worse. For whatever reason, this weekend was an incredibly horrible one for our community, and I think that it’s something we need to at least discuss… Following are my rough thoughts. Take them for what they’re worth.

1. I should point out right up front that, as I understand it, arrests have already been made in the case of the dorm robbery, and that suspects have been identified in the two sexual assaults. This, of course, isn’t to say that there’s no immediate danger. However, I think it’s important to point out that progress is being made, at least in some of these cases.

2. I obviously don’t know what causes episodes like this to occur. I’m hesitant to say that this weekend’s penumbral eclipse of the hunter’s moon could have had anything to do with it, but it does seem as though flare-ups like this come in waves, are somewhat cyclical in nature, and often coincide with nice weather and changes in season. I may be forgetting an episode, but the last time I remember anything similar happening was about three years ago, when a series of violent crimes shook the community. This isn’t to say that we should just accept that these things will happen every few years. We shouldn’t. I do, however, think it’s important to note that, as awful as this weekend’s crimes may have been, they may not, in and of themselves, prove that we’re seeing a significant statistical uptick in crime.

3. The community is coming together to discuss this. A meeting between EMU leaders and City officials has been called for Tuesday. Among other things, one suspects that the policing of student apartment complexes like University Green and Peninsular Place will be on the agenda. I could be wrong, but my sense is that criminal activities are on the rise in these areas, and I’d like to think that EMU might be willing to contribute toward a coordinated campaign to see that trend reversed. (note: Police are still investigating the murder of EMU student Julia Niswender, who was drowned in her Peninsular Place apartment, and the death of John Lawrence who was killed during an altercation between his daughter and her Peninsular Place roommates. “It’s had issues,” Councilman Pete Murdock said to the Ann Arbor News today, referring to Peninsular Place. “When it was first built that wasn’t the case. But, over the years, more apartments got built on the township side. The character of the area has changed. The area was predominately students.”)

4. This is probably a good time for each of us to remember that we always need to be aware of our surroundings. I know it’s tempting to listen to music on your ipod as you’re walking around town, but doing so makes you a lot less aware of your surroundings. And the same goes for talking on the phone. I know some people carry pepper spray, and even guns, but, in most cases, I don’t think there’s anything as effective as vigilance and common sense. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t drink too much. Don’t take shortcuts through desolate areas. Don’t engage in conversations with strangers in areas where others can’t see you. Don’t be afraid to run the other way if things don’t feel right. And don’t hesitate to call your friends for help if you need them. Sure, you can do everything right, and horrible things can still happen, but you can greatly reduce your risk by staying observant and practicing in advance how you’d react if confronted by certain unwelcome events.

5. If you know anything about any of these as-yet-to-be-solved cases, I’d encourage you to call the Ypsilanti police at 734-483-9510, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587). You can do so anonymously.

6. One wonders how, if at all, today’s crime rates might be different had we chosen, as a community, to raise taxes instead of slashing public safety budgets. At the risk of derailing this conversation, here’s a short clip from something I wrote in May of last year, after the income tax was voted down for the second time.

…Hopefully, now that the votes have been cast, the folks who fought so hard not to avoid open, honest debate on the future of our community, will come forward with their ideas as to how we can fend off the Emergency Manager that awaits us, as we teeter on the edge of the budget abyss, contemplating draconian cuts to City services. As the folks at the Chamber just recently said, now it’s time for Steve Pierce and the Stop City Income Tax folks to step up, and “provide their own solutions.” It’s easy in today’s economy to rally support for lower taxes. The hard part is coming up with a plan that, in spite of decreased funding, keeps public safety officers on the street, busses running, schools open and the community thriving… I know it’s only been five years, but one would hope they’d have something to share by now…

As far as I know, those individuals who led the Stop City Income Tax campaign have yet to respond.

7. EMU President Susan Martin sent a letter to the university community this afternoon abut the murder of Demarius Reed, and, one would assume, all of these other recent events. Here’s a clip.

…On Friday, many students who attended the campus forum indicated their interest in raising awareness of the larger issue of off-campus safety and security for our students and neighbors in the community. To that end, EMU students are planning a Stop the Violence march, rally and candlelight vigil this Thursday, October 24. It will begin at 4:30 p.m. on the north side of the Student Center, with a march beginning at 5 p.m., before returning for a rally and candlelight vigil at the outdoor amphitheater next to the Lake House. I encourage everyone who is interested to join me at the vigil and show support at these events.

This senseless tragedy reflects a community issue that needs the attention of University administration, community leaders and students and others beyond our campus boundaries. We have initiated a dialogue with the city that will lead to a broader discussion of overall safety in the neighborhoods surrounding the EMU campus. We plan to have an initial meeting this week that will include University administration, student leaders, and Ypsilanti city leadership.

Tomorrow at 4 p.m., we will hold a campus and community forum in the ballroom of the Student Center, in which Ypsilanti Interim Police Chief Tony DiGiusti and other city leaders will discuss the latest information about the investigation as well as efforts by the city and police to address safety and security concerns in off campus locations, and be available for questions…

Maybe I’m just a bit sensitive, given some of the town-gown interactions I’ve seen in the past, but I take some offense to Martin’s framing this as an “off-campus safety and security” issue, especially when two rapes are thought to have occurred on campus this weekend, and one of the robberies noted at the beginning of this post took place in an EMU dorm. (I’m not suggesting it’s the case, but it’s also conceivable that EMU students could have been involved in some way in these other crimes as well.) I understand they’ve got a business to run, and that it might serve them best, at least in the short term, to present this as an “Ypsilanti problem,” but they should know better, especially given their history when it comes to being less than truthful about on-campus crime. The bottom line is that this effects both of us, and we need to work together on solutions… For instance, what if EMU were to start contributing toward powering the street lights which we’re having a difficult time keeping lit? Or, better yet, what if they start contributing toward the policing of the City? And, what if, instead of encouraging people not to enter the city, they did the exact opposite? What if they more aggressively encouraged their faculty and staff to live in the community? What if they encouraged their students to get involved in local non-profits, and spend time in town? Might that do more to solve the problem than warning the university community to be fearful of those of us who live just outside the campus?

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  1. tommy
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Mark – warm weather doesn’t drive people to assualt, rape, and murder. Murdock blaming the violence that occurs in that piece of shit apartment complexes across the river on the township residents moving in is classless.

    A bad week indeed for Ypsi. The city and the university are joined at the hip. No one’s interests are served by pointing fingers. Perceptions matter – EMU will suffer because of this. So will the city.

  2. Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I would agree with you that I think there’s more EMU could do to connect with Ypsi in different ways, though given that it isn’t exactly rolling in dough either, I don’t know if paying the bills for things like the street lights is a good idea for EMU or even possible. But I do think that EMU and Ypsi need to do something to work together to patrol that area, maybe have a joint staffing of some satellite police station over there, etc. I don’t know what’s possible, but I’m happy that they’re talking.

    But ultimately, this is an Ypsi problem. You’re right about the crimes on campus, but it’s also important to note that those crimes are either solved or are closer to being solved than the stuff that’s happened off campus. I think that the Laura Dickenson murder was a wake-up call for EMU DPS and I think it’s fair to say that campus feels safer now. Almost all of the crime on campus falls into the category of petty theft (watch your backpack, people!) and stuff in the dorms that is largely the byproduct of thousands of loosely supervised 17-22 year old young people living in close proximity of each other. In some ways, it’s surprising that there isn’t more of these kind of crimes in the dorms, frankly.

    But these apartments where most of the crime you’re talking about is happening are not on campus and are thus first and foremost in the YPD jurisdiction. And let’s be clear: that neighborhood of apartments is a mix of students and non-students (I wouldn’t be surprised if the non-students outnumbered the student population) and it has been an a sketchy area of town for decades. EMU’s obligations or even rights to do a lot of patrols/enforcing over there is limited in the same way that YPD doesn’t patrol campus or Ann Arbor Police don’t patrol Ypsi.

    And I agree with you completely that this is a good example of why we need as a community to fund the YPD through tax dollars and such, but I also want to know why the slum lords running these places have no responsibility here? For example, Peninsular Place promotes itself to parents as a “safe” place to let their college-attending children live:

    Why aren’t they being criticized or even sued by running what is clearly an unsafe apartment complex? Why aren’t the owners of University Green being held accountable? I realize a landlord can’t (and shouldn’t!) discriminate on who they rent to based on some kind of stereotype of who might or might not be trouble. But at the same time, don’t they have some obligation to provide their renters a safe environment? I mean, I suspect if I lived in that complex and went to the landlords and said “Hey, I am breaking this lease right now because this apartment I’m renting from you is unsafe– give me back my deposit,” I would bet that landlord would say “sorry, you signed a lease.”

  3. anonymous
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Just because the three violent crimes that took place on campus were solved does not mean that they’re any less serious.

  4. Elliott
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Can someone explain to me the connection, if there is one, between Peninsular Place and EMU? Is PP just a parasitic enterprise that exists alongside the university, pulling money from the kids who come to EMU from Ohio, and various other places, or is there more of a relationship?

  5. Mr. Y
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    My sense is that, after a number of years, we were finally starting to make some progress toward tearing down the wall between the University and the city, and I’d hate to see that trend begin to reverse. My hope is that University administrators don’t overreact and start making blanket warnings about the dangerous nature of Ypsilanti. Not only would that hurt our downtown, but it would hurt them. A better course of action would be a proactive campaign of engagement at all levels.

  6. EOS
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Peninsular Place are private apartments that were designed so that the City could get tax revenue from student “dorms”.

  7. Kristen Cuhran
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your comments Mark. I agree that this is an issue for EMU and the community of Ypsilanti (which, as you say, includes EMU). Everyone needs to work together- an investment of financial resources and collaboration are whats needed.

  8. Leah
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    One of the proposals floating around is for the EMU campus police to patrol the surrounding areas. I lived off Wayne State’s Campus for about 8 years and that was definitely the model there. With the issues with the Detroit Police, I felt much safer having campus police be a visible presence in the neighborhood. I also called them on several occasions and, despite being several blocks outside their jurisdiction, they always showed up within a minute or two. This was absolutely a stop-gap measure that didn’t address the real problem, which was that the DPD doesn’t have the manpower to effectively police the area. This policy did make a large and immediate impact on the people living in those surrounding neighborhoods, though, and it’s something we should consider.

  9. anonymous
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    According to M-Live, EMU is considering reopening additional dormitories on campus. Clearly they’re considering the option of building a wider moat around their section of the city.

  10. Elf
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if they’ve determined why, but the Jimmy John’s building on Cross Street also caught fire this weekend.

  11. Meta
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    From mLive:

    Three of Ypsilanti’s most recent homicides, including the two involving EMU students, have taken place in apartment complexes frequented by students and remain unsolved. Reed lived in University Green Apartments in Ypsilanti off Leforge Road. Niswender lived in Peninsular Place apartments off Huron River Drive. In March, a 46-year-old man, the father of an EMU student, was killed at Peninsular Place.

    “They have a moral obligation to do more than collect the rent,” Parker said. The school wants local apartment owners to take concrete steps in improving security, such as adding security cameras to common areas.

    A representative of University Green said the complex has upped its security patrols since Reed was killed there on Friday. The complex has 24-hour patrols, but does not have security cameras.

    “We are looking into several additional safety feature options to be added to the community: including cameras and emergency phone stations,” representative Jaclyn Robinson wrote in an e-mail.

    Peninsular Place did not respond to a request for comment.

    EMU began talking with property owners shortly after Niswender was killed. Leigh Greden, EMU vice president of community and government relations, said the school is going to reopen the conversations with renewed vigor.

    “We plan to reinitiate and expedite those conversations to develop specific strategies to improve the overall student experience, particularly safety, off-campus,” Greden said. He said EMU is still in the process of connecting with property owners.

    The school and Ypsilanti city officials — including Ypsilanti Police Chief Tony Degiusti, who did not attend EMU’s first forum on Friday — are holding a second forum Tuesday at the EMU Student Center to discuss campus safety and next steps in the Reed homicide investigation.

    EMU’s police department communicates with Ypsilanti police on a case-to-case basis. EMU police will at times respond to calls in the city, or forward information on to Ypsilanti police; however, no formal off-campus crime prevention effort exists between the two law enforcement bodies.

    “We normally don’t go out,” said EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes. “Right now our focus is campus, but we do extend outward when the opportunity presents itself.”

    That might change as officials work to improve safety.

    “We’re going to have to step up our partnerships and work with the surrounding community and do additional education both on campus and off campus,” Parker said. “Maybe this can be a lightning rod as to getting additional partnerships out in the community.”

    Martin agreed that the university can improve its off-campus safety programs.

    Read more:

  12. Murf
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Or even more egregious per an article I read about this today, one of the regents said that a moat can’t be built around the school. Yeah, definitely some anti-City of Ypsi stuff coming from the EMU side.

  13. Kristin
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t really feel like a “moat.” Other than scattering university buildings around the city, what would you have them do? No campus?

  14. Toad Hall
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Perhaps not an appropriate place to mention this, but I’m curious if perhaps admissions standards at EMU are slipping. When I read about robberies between students playing dice in the dorms, I have to wonder if maybe, in an effort to fill their dorms and classrooms, they’re taking people that they shouldn’t.

  15. karen
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    leigh greden is a piece of shit, lying asshole who has done more to damage city-university relations than the previous four presidents combined.

  16. Patty
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Demarius Reed is in the local news here in Chicago today. The angle of the articles has been how ironic it is that he survived growing up on the hard streets of Chicago and was murdered in the comparatively safe environment of Ypsi.

  17. Brienne
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I was at an event with some other EMU Alum on Friday, and the topic came up about the violence in general in the community (sparked in part by the violence this past weekend). Three of the men in the conversation lived in the same dorm as Laura Dickinson (two of which were on the same floor), and have residual feelings of disturbance about it – and their time at EMU.

    One of the women there was a professor at EMU currently, and mentioned the Rave Alert system gave her a really negative impression of Ypsilanti. When she comes to teach, she stays for the class only, and leaves. She shared the same sentiments as the alum of being alarmed about EMU, and lack of safety. Though she’s never been victim of anything, nor have the aforementioned men.

    The alum were all defensive about EMU and Ypsilanti regardless, but don’t live here – in part due to their own lack of interest in being in a community where their perception is that crime is prevalent (what is “prevalent” quantitatively?).

    I’ve lived here almost 10 years, and found it difficult to explain what anyone should do in the future or learn about Ypsilanti to counteract rave alerts, past experiences, etc. I wonder sometimes about the alert system, the angles of articles/news and a balance of conversation. I wonder too about the lack of “community” the people that teach at EMU feel (even if it’s their own ignorance or laziness to seek out positive experiences) and what potential impact that has on students’ impressions. How many of the professors live here? How many of the administration? So they’re going to “reopen the conversations with renewed vigor” per the mlive article, well who’s doing the talking and listening and where do they LIVE?

    I don’t have any concrete contributions to this topic, just the observations. However, I think the imbalance and the preoccupation with the negative is human nature, and much to do with fear, and unfortunately it’s a really difficult conversation to have. How do you counteract fear directly? How do you address the emotional part of it besides the logical and visceral (more police, more lights, more awareness)?

  18. murph
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    While EMich may not have the intent of “building a moat”, I’ve been a little dismayed at the very literal walls that have been built around campus the past two years. The massive masonry pillars and metal fences that have been built along Oakwood, perrin, lowell don’t exactly scream “we want to engage.”

  19. Eel
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    A UM Med School student was shot dead in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago and there was a campus wide alert sent out just today about a robbery in town, and yet there’s no talk of U-M divesting itself from the dangerous city. The truth is, EMU has always been different. They’ve never embraced this town. They think that they can exist on an island, and that’s how they govern, to the detriment of all of us.

  20. Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I think the whole idea that EMU has something against Ypsilanti (as I see it in some of these comments) is fairly inaccurate. I don’t know the percentages exactly, but lots of people who teach and work at EMU live in Ypsilanti– including me– so these critiques against the city and the Ypsi PD are not just coming from people who drive in to EMU, do their business, and then leave.

    And really, we’re mostly not talking about Ypsilanti per se; we’re mostly talking about a very specific neighborhood of apartments north of campus that seem to be the epicenter for this nonsense. I think Fran Parker is completely right when she said that these landlords have a responsibility to do something about this.

    BTW, to get to Toad Hall’s question: EMU’s freshmen enrollments are up for this year and their grades/test scores are higher too. See So no, this wave of crime is not the result of EMU letting in more bad students or something.

  21. Elf
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    The Eastern Echo has photos of the Jimmy John’s fire.

  22. anonymous
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    “We are forever plagued by the stain that is Ypsilanti,” says an EMU student.

  23. anonymous
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the exact moat quote.

    “EMU Board of Regents chairwoman Francine Parker said about the recent crimes. “You’d like to build a moat around the university, but you can’t. So what do you do?””

  24. Leah
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Looks like there was a third assault by a group of men. Happened last night at the University Green Apartments. As you can imagine, there is a delightful conversation in the comments:

  25. Mr. X
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link, Leah. I particularly liked this comment.

    “Obama’s community organizers trying to spread the message that even healthy young people need insurance?”

  26. Edward
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Saying ‘community organizer’ is easier than saying the n-word, which is what this person means.

  27. Robert
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Behaving openly like a degenerate low-life is socially acceptable these days, so it is somewhat more difficult to distinguish seriously dangerous individuals from the rest of the population, especially for the perceptually challenged.

    I wonder how this vanload of excrement is selecting their targets. I hope they run into an off duty cop or an armed combat vet and end up cut to pieces by flying lead. Then we can all boo-hoo with their parents complaining, “they’re killing our kids!”

  28. Robert
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Did you get a chance to eat at the Gun Barrel restaurant?

  29. Robert
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    That last comment was meant for the Jackson Hole thread. It fits here in a way too though.

  30. empathletic
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    drawing lines (or imagining moats) is an emotional response to a string of awful events that should serve to unite EMU and the city. who doesn’t want to live in a safe and thriving community? our interests are aligned here, and we can respond much more effectively through collaboration than blame-shifting. but fear (whether for one’s physical safety or for future revenues) can be a powerful emotion.

  31. Dirtgrain
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    “I hope they run into . . . an armed combat vet and end up cut to pieces by flying lead.”

    Like in that movie with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or in Rambo? Maybe we can recruit PTSD -suffering veterans–who were never taught how to turn it off–to roam our neighborhoods. I do understand fantasizing about these rat bastards getting the tables turned on them, but we have a real problem. And flying lead is never a good thing for a community–not when innocent people are within range.

  32. Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Can you imagine the shit storm if a UM Regent said that she wished they could build a moat separating the university from Ann Arbor?

  33. Jcp2
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    They do seem to lay out their dormitories in a gothic style already. The moat could be a water feature.

  34. Posted October 23, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t take the moat argument too seriously for all sorts of different reasons, and it is worth noting that I think the real intention/emphasis in that Parker quote was she was saying that we don’t have any choice but to work with Ypsilanti.

    That said, I think there are ways in which U of M kind of does have a well-defined bubble around itself, which is similar to most colleges/universities. It’s not as quite as well defined at some places– there are many college campuses in this country that literally are walled-off from the campus town– but it’s there. U of M has a lot more money to buy up areas near campus it wants for one reason or another– and thus the demise of Blimpy Burger. The cost of living in Ann Arbor generally and in certain neighborhoods near campus does a pretty effective job of keeping out the riff-raff. (BTW, the same is true in Ypsilanti: the neighborhoods to the east/southeast of EMU, “Normal Park” and “College Heights,” are mostly single family homes and are about as safe as anywhere in Ann Arbor).

  35. elviscostello
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    You know what, Screw Pete Murdock. I read his quote, really nice trying to deflect the blame to the Township. The apartment complexes that belong to Ypsi Township have been there a while. One was owned by Kircher, which had the sewage disposal into the river, finally resulting in his prison term. That complex was taken over by McKinly, I think. The other was built at the time or before Peninsular Place. I know those complexes have tenants from lower socioeconomic groups, but explain why the killings have been in complexes in the City. When my son moved out and was looking at apartments, I told him to stay away from anything around LeForge, as that whole area has major problems, and that opinion was given 3 years ago. If Pete hopes to have city-township cooperative relations, maybe he should rethink the comments he makes. I say that as one who would like to see more cooperation and consolidation.

  36. Pete Murdock
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    @Elvis Costello – My comments were “quoted” incompletely. I was asked about the changing nature of the Leforge area and I said that when the apartments on Leforge were built in the late sixties they were almost exclusively students. At that time Ypsilanti Township population was less than the City’s. As Ypsilanti Township grew there were more apartment buildings available and more students had cars making proximity to campus not as necessary for students. With more rental options, the area became less student and more mixed. Additional rentals on both sides of Leforge were built for a non- student market. I was not assessing “blame” just describing a changing demographic. I apologize for any negativity toward Ypsilanti Township that might be inferred from the partial quotation. It certainly wasn’t meant to be.

  37. Elviscostello
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for clearing that up Pete! I appreciate it. I’d love to see more cooperation between both entities, and saw that YT adopted MABUS for fire response. Are you next?

  38. Pete Murdock
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the City has been working with the other municipalities with a box alarm system for several years without the formal agreement. Ann Arbor also adopted the MABUS at their meeting earlier this week and the City will most likely follow suit at our next meeting. Speaking of cooperation, I was at the AA City Council meeting this week with township and AAATA officials in support of Ypsi Twp request to join the AAATA. And of course there has been discussion among everyone in an attempt to deal with issues in the Leforge and other off campus areas.

  39. josh
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Could you elaborate on leigh greden?

  40. josh
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I live downtown and do more than my share of barhopping and have never felt particularly unsafe. Petty crime sure–lock your bike!–but never personally threatened. Certainly there’s a population of down-and-outers that look scary to the A2 yuppie crowd, but they’re all harmless.

    It only takes a couple pieces of fecal matter to create a crimewave. My impression is that most of our crime problems stem from a handful of thugs moving into town. They get picked up or move on and the problem goes away until the next criminal dumbass shows up. I suspect this cycle isn’t helped by the large student population with ties to even rougher parts of Michigan. A jackass from back home is invited to a party and someone ends up shot.

    From the mlive comments, I gather the property management companies on the north side have done a spectacularly bad job of making their properties safe; allowing building wide parties and not reporting crime. The University Green apartments were recently bought by an out of town investor, so there might be some hope there. Penn Place management seems to be in denial.

  41. Robert Davis
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink


    good post.

  42. Robert
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    No Dirtgrain, I wasn’t referring to anything in any movie. I was thinking of the sort of incidents which have been occurring with some regularity just 40 miles east of Ypsi, in the reality of Detroit. It is there that roaming criminals keep running into off duty cops, and gun wielding vets, and lead commences to flying , often killing the criminals, and occasionally hitting innocent civilians nearby.

    I wasn’t suggesting any solutions to anything. I was just expressing the hope that those guys in the van end up meeting an appropriate end.

  43. Posted October 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    “It never happens to me.”

    Well, let’s not forget that crime happens to someone.

    There are worse places and better places than Ypsi, but someone is suffering.

  44. Meta
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    The Ann Arbor News on the possibility that EMU police might start patrolling Ypsi neighborhoods:

    After half a week of publicly resisting the idea of patrolling near-campus neighborhoods in the wake of a rash of violent crimes, Eastern Michigan University police might start increasing their presence off campus.

    In four recent forums, students raised questions about whether EMU police officers will assist city police with patrols in areas that, while directly affecting the university community, are not in the department’s jurisdiction.

    By Wednesday, police were becoming more open to the idea. However, nothing was set in stone.

    “The chief will be meeting with the Washtenaw County Sheriff and the City of Ypsilanti to talk about how we might try to have joint patrols to increase security in that area,” said EMU President Susan Martin on Wednesday during the third campus forum.

    As recently as a Tuesday afternoon safety forum, EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes had concerns about possibly committing his officers to city neighborhoods. Despite having 10 more officers than the Ypsilanti Police Department, the EMU Police would remain concerned with campus, he said.

    “We do collaborate, we just don’t patrol areas that are really not our responsibility in some ways,” he said, adding, “If I spend our resources out in the city, then I’m going to hear ‘Where are you at? We had an incident on campus, where are your officers at?’”

    Read more:

  45. Robert
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I have been to a number of places where any thugs who show up and start roaming around assaulting or robbing people, soon disappear, never to be heard from again. Or sometimes their dead bodies are found, usually drowned in a river or something. And it’s odd, people in those places never seem to care much about the violation of that person’s human rights. It’s almost as if their attitude is that the deceased was nothing more than a diseased animal that had to be put down. And these places are more than just a little nicer than Ypsilanti, or Ann Arbor. The people are far more considerate and respectful of each other and the quality of life is significantly better.

    Of course, as I said before, thuglum culture is widespread in this part of the country. In many places, the general population now actually exhibits much of the behaviors and conduct which until recently were commonly considered very offensive and indicitive of a threat to polite society. So now, in many places, we have maybe even a majority of the population thinking, speaking and behaving like degenerates. It is certainly the case in the area of Ann Arbor where I currently reside, amongst undergraduate students and their seedy associates. The conduct of these people toward one another is disturbing to say the least. The behavior the majority tolerates and even seems to expect of one another is stomach turning.

  46. maryd
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I find it appalling that 3 people walked over the dead body of Demarius Reed. they thought he was drunk and passed out. I suppose that meant he didnt need any help…And 6 people heard gun shots, but nobody called police. Interesting people will call if loud music or barking dogs disturb them but not when a crime wave threatens them.

  47. Dan
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink


    Where are these utopias you speak of? Does Al Swearengen happen to reside in one of them?

  48. Jen
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Interesting development:

    Ypsilanti investigating claims landlords told residents not to call police

    City officials are investigating allegations made by students that off-campus apartment complexes have said they could possibly fined for calling the police. University Green Apartments representatives have said residents are encouraged to contact the police. (Brianne Bowen | The Ann Arbor News)

    Katrease Stafford | By Katrease Stafford |
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on October 24, 2013 at 2:38 PM, updated October 24, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Ypsilanti officials are looking into claims that apartment complexes are telling tenants not to call the police because management will be billed and then pass the cost down to the renters.

    Interim Ypsilanti Police Chief Tony DeGiusti said a student informed him of the issue, after Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed was found at 7:15 a.m. last Friday shot to death in the hallway of a building in a University Green complex in the 700 block of West Clark Road.

    Since the homicide, three EMU students have been assaulted by a group of men in complexes along the Leforge corridor.

    “He advised me that some of the management in the off-campus housing has told their tenants not to call the police when they have a problem and the reason was they would bill the management and then pass that cost down to the renters,” DeGiusti said Tuesday during a forum at EMU.

    DeGiusti said if residents were told that, then they’ve been “misled.”

    “That is a lie,” DeGiusti said. “I have no idea where they would get such an impression, but I can assure you that we do not send bills for police services to landlords.”

    Jaclyn Robinson, managing partner of JT Marketing Group who represents University Green, said the property management team has not advised its residents to not speak with the police.

    “That is absolutely not the case at University Green Apartments,” Robinson said. “We have already sent out a letter to our residents encouraging them to call 911 in case of emergency or to report any suspicious activities and/or crimes. The safety of our residents remains our number concern and priority.”

    Representatives from Huron View Apartments and Peninsular Place Apartments did not return calls seeking comment.

    DeGiusti and City Manager Ralph Lange said they will reach out to the local complexes. City officials declined to say which apartments the student complained about.

    “The police department will be reaching out to those landlords we suspect are telling people this in the very near future, to ensure that they are not influencing tenants to not report things to the police departments,” DeGiusti said.

    Lange said the idea that students and residents have not called police because they thought they would get billed is “awful.”

    “… It might have led to the culture of people not calling after hearing gun shots,” Lange said. “The whole statement that they were told not to call the police came directly from a student. We were so appalled at that.”

    DeGiusti said Tuesday during an EMU forum, six people heard gunshots the night Reed was killed and there was a report of a fight in the parking lot of the University Green apartments.

    Lange reiterated that discussions are taking place with the owners of various complexes, including University Green Apartments and Peninsular Place Apartments.

    Lange said no idea is off the table, including the possibility of the city installing security cameras and creating an ordinance that could potentially require certain security measures at complexes of a certain size.

    “You could do it by a certain class of property,” Lange said. “Cameras aren’t going to solve the problems all by themselves. It’s a lot of things. Everyone is stepping up and everyone making improvements, that makes the most sense.”

    Although the discussions are taking place, Lange said nothing is concrete yet — especially if the complex owners willingly increase measures.

    “If the people cooperate voluntarily, we don’t need to pass more laws because all the property owners don’t have these problems,” he said. “If they cooperate, that’s the fastest and quickest way to do something.”

    If owners don’t cooperate, Lange said the city would then have to take “legislative” steps.

    “That’s when council comes in,” Lange said. “Do we have an ordinance on the books for the next meeting? No. That’s going to take time and we want to be ahead of that. We’re hoping people understand the seriousness of this.”

  49. anonymous
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    If true, that’s absolutely insane.

  50. karen
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    compared to living in a police state with cameras everywhere, a weird guy with a taser riding a segway doesn’t seem so bad.

  51. Pete Murdock
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink


    YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University and area police agencies have agreed to collaborate and immediately increase patrols in the Leforge Road area north of the EMU campus.

    Beginning Friday (Oct. 25), the EMU Department of Public Safety, the Ypsilanti Police Department, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department and Ypsilanti Township each will dedicate officers to begin specifically patrolling the area.

    Assigned officers will meet at the EMU Department of Public Safety headquarters each night to coordinate their efforts, EMU Chief of Police Bob Heighes said. “This collaboration is an important step in helping to ensure the safety and security of EMU students and others living in and visiting the area north of campus,” Heighes said. “We are gratified and appreciative to be working with the city, county and township in beginning this increased effort. Residents should quickly be aware and comforted by the increased police presence.”

    Ypsilanti Chief of Police Tony DeGiusti said, “The Ypsilanti Police Department is proud join our neighbors in this partnership. The increased police presence that we will be able to collectively provide will certainly increase the safety of our residents and students. However, everyone still needs to remain vigilant in their own personal safety by making good decisions and being involved. Please remember that if you see something suspicious or a crime occur to call the police immediately.”

    Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said, “We are all concerned with the security of our neighborhoods and the safety of our residents, our students and the visitors to our community, particularly in light of the recent tragic events. However, I am confident in our ability as a community to come together and address these challenges.”

    Demarius Reed, an EMU student and varsity football player who lived at the University Green apartments, located on Green Road, off Leforge and a block from the EMU campus, was shot and killed Friday morning and later found in a hallway in the complex. Two weekend assaults that occurred in the Leforge Road area also spotlighted the need for increased patrols and collaboration by area law enforcement.

    Heighes said that the cooperating departments will soon establish a working office in the area, which includes a variety of apartment complexes with a high proportion of EMU students.

    EMU and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department will each dedicate two of their own officers to the joint effort, and Ypsilanti Police will dedicate one. One of the two officers provided by the Sheriff’s Office is paid for by Ypsilanti Township. EMU has already begun increased patrolling in the area for visibility, Heighes said.

    Heighes said the effect of the increased team patrols would be tracked and evaluated over the next few months and at the end of the year.
    The University has also begun working aggressively with several area landlords in discussing further safety measures. Those plans, which presently include the University Green complex, and the adjacent Huron View Complex, could include steps such as adding security cameras, adding emergency call stations, organizing a neighborhood watch program and expanding shuttle hours into the night.

    Also, the reward for information leading to helping solve the case of Reed’s death has been increased to $10,000. University Green is contributing $5,000, and Eastern Michigan University and Crime Stoppers are contributing $2,500 each to the reward fund.

    Tips can be submitted anonymously by calling 1-800-SPEAK UP (1-800-773-2587), online at, or via text to CRIMES (274637).

    For further details on the Demarius Reed case and the variety of public safety updates and forums that have occurred at EMU this week, please visit the website at


  52. Posted October 25, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Pete, is Mr. Lange’s suggestion of mandated surveillance coming from Council, or is he speaking on his own?

    It’s rare that I agree with karen on this site, but it happens. The dorms have security cameras, but that apparently didn’t stop the 2 rapes and robbery that happened this same weekends — do we expect a magically different outcome off campus?

  53. anonymous
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Cameras are for identifying and finding perpetrators at a later date, not for preventing crimes. The evidence on that subject is pretty clear.

  54. anonymous
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Another man was shot in downtown Ann Arbor this weekend. Will U-M Regents bring up the idea of building a moat?

  55. anonymous
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Never mind. It’s not the same thing at all. This shooter was a white U-M grad with a license to carry.

  56. Posted October 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I thought that CCW holders never used their guns.

  57. Posted October 28, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    And he’s ROTC

  58. Posted October 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    But don’t worry. The 2nd Amendment worked here.

    Our Republic is safer because he had a gun in a bar.

  59. dot dot dash
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    The crime wave continues:

    Location: Sidewalk in the 400 block of Emmet Street, between Ballard Street and North Hamilton Street, which is located southeast of the EMU Campus.

    The Ypsilanti Police Department is investigating an armed robbery that occurred at approximately 11:47 p.m. Monday, November 11, 2013. The victim, who is not an Eastern Michigan University student, said he was walking on the sidewalk when the males approached him and demanded his belongings. The victim stated that one male pointed a black colored revolver at his face and he turned over the property he had in his possession. The subjects fled on foot and left the area in an unknown direction. The victim said that his wallet, cellular phone and a backpack were taken. The victim did not report any injuries.

    Subject description: Two unknown African American males in their early twenties. The victim was able to describe one male as being 6’ 2”, thin build, and last seen wearing black hooded jacket, and dark pants. The other male was described as being 5’8” – 6’, thin build, last seen wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt or jacket under a black Carhartt jacket, dark pants, and armed with a black revolver.

  60. Pete Murdock
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Two suspects arrested and lodged in jail for the armed robbery at Emmet and Ballard.

    From the police report –
    “(2) suspects in the Armed Robbery have been taken into custody. The suspects, a 22 year old male resident of Ypsilanti Twp and a 21 year old male resident of Ypsilanti Twp were arrested without incident in a neighboring jurisdiction in the early morning hours following a traffic stop.
    At the time of the arrest evidence linking the suspects to the Armed Robbery was recovered along with some of the items that had been reported stolen. The suspects are being lodged at the County Jail awaiting arraignment.”

  61. Boss Twee
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    But I thought Township people never committed crimes in the city.

  62. Pete Murdock
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Ypsilanti police have arrested a suspect in the murder of Edward Gwinner killed in city Public Housing on Armstrong Court.

    The investigation into the murder of Edward Gwinner resulted in the naming of a 21 yr old suspect. A warrant was obtained for his arrest and the suspect turned himself into Police on 11/13/13. The suspect, an acquaintance of the victim, will be arraigned on 11/14/13 on charges of Open Murder, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Felony Firearm. He will be lodged at the County Jail until his arraignment.

  63. Meta
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    According to MLive, police officers have made two arrests in the case of the Demarius Reed murder.

    Two 20-year-old Detroit men are set to face murder charges in the death of Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed, court records show.

    Ed Jemeal Thomas and Kristopher Kaivon Pratt are both facing murder and robbery charges in Reed’s death, records show.
    demarius-reed.jpgDemarius ReedEMU Athletics
    Thomas is facing charges of open murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He is held in the Washtenaw County Jail, according to jail records.

    Pratt faces charges of open murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, records show. He’s being held at the Wayne County Jail, records indicate.

    One of the two men is currently facing charges in Wayne County for “robbing a man of Air Jordan sneakers and then firing a single gunshot at the victim”.

    Read more:

  64. facebook stalker
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Press Release from Acting Ypsilanti Police Chief, Tony DiGiusti, on the arrest of two suspects in the Demarius Reed murder case.

    On Sunday and Monday the Ypsilanti Police Department arrested two individuals in the death of Demarius Reed. Ed Jemeal Thomas and a second subject are both facing murder and robbery charges in Reed’s death. Thomas is facing charges of open murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. The second subject, who has not yet been arraigned, faces charges of open murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, records show. Both subjects are in custody awaiting further court proceedings.

    This case had a lot of twists and turns and I want to thank all of our law enforcement partners for their assistance specifically, LAWNET, the CRVP Task Force, the Michigan State Police, the Warren Police Department, the Harper Woods Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Marshals Office. All of these agencies provided support that was critical to solving this crime and we are grateful to have such a good working relationship with them. However, the most important and effective relationship was between the City of Ypsilanti and Eastern Michigan University. The support we have received, especially from the Police Department and Chief Heighes was outstanding.

    I would like everyone to know that the lion’s share of the work and all of the strategy employed in this investigation came from a team of detectives. Detective Sergeant Tom Eberts of the Ypsilanti Police Department, Detective Joe Yuhas of the Ypsilanti Police Department, Detective Annette Coppock of the Ypsilanti Police Department, Detective Shana Thompson of the EMU Police Department and Detective Susan McLennan of the EMU Police Department made up that team. I have watched these officers work tirelessly over the past weeks on this case. There are no words that can describe the dedication, commitment and competence they have displayed. They gave selflessly of themselves and I am humbled to have witnessed the personal sacrifices that they all made while working on this case.

    I realize that these arrests will bring a sense of relief. However, it should not affect the level of vigilance that should be exercised regarding personal safety. People should still travel in groups when they can, they should avoid risk taking behaviors, they should still be aware of their environment and most importantly people need to call the police when they see something suspicious. Everyone needs to be an active component of the community. We are still interested in any information regarding this case and encourage people to step forward.

    On our part we will continue to do extra patrols with our partners at EMU, the Sheriff’s office and Ypsilanti Township. We are committed to continuing collaborative efforts to reduce crime and increase safety in densely occupied, off campus student residences and throughout the entire community. Thus far, the efforts have been successful and it has been a pleasure to work with EMU and the Sheriff on these collaborative efforts.

    Ralph Lange, City Manager for the City of Ypsilanti

    “I am extremely pleased that through the unceasing, hard work of a large team of police professionals, lead by the Ypsilanti Police Department and greatly supported by EMU Detectives, we have taken the first step in bringing about justice for Demarius Reed. Our joint efforts demonstrate the value of collaboration, cooperation, and coordination of regional police agencies for the enhancement of public safety for all of our citizens.”

    Below are the statements Eastern Michigan University is releasing to the media today about these developments:

    President Susan Martin

    “We are extremely grateful for the work and dedication of the Ypsilanti Police Department and our Department of Public Safety detectives in identifying suspects in this tragic and senseless crime against a wonderful student and inspiring young man. The prayers and thoughts of the Eastern Michigan community remain with the family and close friends of Demarius Reed. We will continue to collaborate with the City of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and the Washtenaw County Sheriff in ensuring the safety and security of our staff and students.”

    EMU Chief of Police Bob Heighes

    “I want to extend our thanks to Ypsilanti Interim Police Chief Tony DeGiusti and detectives Tom Eberts, Joe Yuhas and Annette Coppock of the Ypsilanti Police Department for their diligence and determined efforts in the investigation that resulted in the apprehension of these suspects. This effort also included the involvement of EMU detectives Shana Thompson and Susan McLennan. We continue to work closely with the Ypsilanti Police Department on key safety initiatives, including the expanded police patrols around our campus. We know that our community is safer and that justice will be served.

    Fran Parker, chair of the EMU Board of Regents

    “We are gratified to hear this news, and hope the Reed family can draw some comfort from this development. I want to extend thanks to the Ypsilanti Police Department and the assisting agencies, and also to Crime Stoppers for helping so extensively with reward money for information in this case.

  65. dot dot dash
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Demarius Reed was killed because someone wanted his belt.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] response to the recent surge in violent criminal activity north of the City, the Ypsilanti Police Department, the Washtenaw County Sheriff Department and the Eastern Michigan […]

  2. […] response to the recent surge in violent criminal activity north of the City, and the subsequent public outcry, the Ypsilanti Police Department, the Washtenaw County Sheriff […]

  3. […] have a few leads in the case of Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed, who was murdered outside his off-campus apartment several weeks ago. According to police, over a dozen search warrants have been executed in […]

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