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Flint may create witness protection program to combat rising violent crime

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Michigan Governor's Office

The city of Flint is looking at setting up a witness protection program to encourage city residents to come forward with information on violent crime.

Flint’s homicide rate this year is running about 30% higher so far this year compared to the same time in 2020.

Police Chief Terence Green believes a witness protection program is key to reducing violent crime in Flint.

“Funding for that program will go a long way with solving unsolved homicides as well as preventing homicides,” said Green.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley discussed plans for a witness protection program during a roundtable discussion on public safety with Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday.  

Last month, the mayor declared a state of emergency due to Flint’s violent crime.

Neeley says fear is keeping some witnesses to violent crime from coming forward.  

“Before it gets too far out of control, we want to make sure we provide the necessary resources to suppress the criminal element in our communities,” said Neeley.

The mayor is proposing spending a half million dollars in federal COVID relief money on the program, as well as getting state matching funds. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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