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Saginaw gets federal grant to combat violent crime

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
“It is extremely imperative that we get with our younger people,” said Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth

Saginaw city leaders hope to use a nearly $350,000 federal grant to help reduce the city’s problem with violent crime.

The grant was awarded to the Saginaw Community Foundation through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program. The money will be used by a law enforcement and community task force to reduce violent gang and gun crime in Saginaw.

Ramont Roberts is the Superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools. He says the grant announced Friday will assist with police outreach efforts in Saginaw schools through anti-drug and anti-gang instruction for students.

“So that we get to our students early and educate them on the importance of sound decision-making as they matriculate through their K-12 education, we can avoid many of the pitfalls that they fall into,” said Roberts.

Violent crime is taking a toll on Saginaw. According to an FBI crime statistics report released this week, the city of Saginaw ranked as the fourth most violent city in America in 2021. Three other Michigan cities (Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Lansing) also ranked in the top 20.

But Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth says violent crime is down this year. According to Ruth, shootings are down by 65% in 2022, compared to the same period last year.

Saginaw’s police chief credited programs, like those funded in the new grant, for the lower violent crime this year. “It is extremely imperative that we get with our younger people,” said Ruth, “Teach them at a young age that hanging out with gangs, taking that path down life, is not the proper path to take.”

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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