Michigan State Police prioritizing community outreach in fighting crime

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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Since 2015, Benton Harbor has been part of the Secure Cities Initiative (SCP) created by Michigan State Police in 2012 to address crime.

This year, they’re furthering those efforts by increasing community engagement.

In addition to troopers stationed in the city for SCP, MSP has also designated four troopers from its fifth district to be part of the District Crime Prevention Squad (DCPS).

“We believe that those relationships we’re building everyday will help us down the line, said Spl/Lt. DuWayne Robinson, Public Information Officer for MSP’s Fifth District.

Under both programs, MSP implements a strategy they call “smart justice,” where enforcement and community outreach are equally prioritized in fighting crime.

“We use data to pinpoint where the most violent crimes occur so we can then project our resources to that area,” said Lt. Robinson.

Something they say is especially needed this summer with gun violence already up nationwide.

“It is alarming with all the shootings; drugs and guns to hand and hand with gang activity,” said Lt. Robinson.

In just these past three weeks, DCPS has made made 16 arrests in Benton Harbor and gotten four firearms off the streets. 

But, not forgetting the importance of fostering relationships with the community – including at Union Field over Memorial Day weekend.

“The troops cleaned up the park before the game, they helped coach, we had a table out there with 50 or so pizzas and served the kids, ate with them and that was attended by around 200 people and that even included people just stopping by to see what’s going on,” said Lt. Robinson.

Benton Harbor is the only municipality in Berrien County right now that has enlisted MSP’s District Crime Prevention Squad, but any in the fifth district are welcome to tap into their resources, the township or city supervisor would just need to contact MSP.

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