Above: an ELPD officer at 2016's East Lansing Homecoming parade.
“Is there really more crime in East Lansing lately, or does it just seem that way?” That’s a question from an ELi reader. For answers, I turned to ELPD information officer Sgt. Chad Pride.
Specifically, our reader said, it seems like there are more home invasions in the past year or so, and that there are more crimes involving guns. I asked Pride if this was true, and he answered that over the last four years, City of East Lansing Home Invasions/Burglary complaints have gone down. In 2012 there were 219 such crimes reported, and in 2014 there were 150. Based on a rough estimate, he says that 2016 numbers will be equivalent to those from 2014
Pride added that the use of both Nixle and social media allows information to be disseminated more quickly than has been possible in the past. This might make it seem like there’s more criminal activity in EL, but it’s really just that we are more aware of it.
Asked how EL residents can make themselves as safe as possible from home invasions, particularly if they are away from home, Pride had the following advice:
· Make sure your residence is locked and secure when you leave your home (doors/windows/garages/vehicles in the driveway).
· Contact the United States Postal Service if you are going to be away for an extended amount of time and have your mail placed on hold to be picked up when you return.
· Contact the East Lansing Police Department front desk (517-319-6897) and have your residence put on our vacation list. Officers will check your residence periodically for unsecured doors and or windows.
· Leave an exterior or interior light on at your residence.
· Have a friend or neighbor stop by your house and check on it.
· With the winter months and the possibility of snow, shoveling the driveway and walkway can show a presence that someone is home and not away for break or vacation.
Finally, I asked about the steps ELPD takes to protect MSU student rentals during the weeks that many students are away for the winter and spring breaks. He explained that officers continue to patrol the student housing areas during breaks, and that student renters can also contact the East Lansing Police Department front desk and have their residences put on their vacation list.
Pride advises students to take all valuables home with them, explaining that items which are frequently stolen include TVs, laptop computers, and gaming equipment.
“Nixle is a great resource for the community to stay informed on road conditions, safety issues, and other governmental information” he says. “I would highly recommend the public sign up for this resource.” (Click here to sign up for Nixle.)