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Flint pastor rallies community in face of rising murder rate

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Some people in Flint are turning to a higher power to deal with a rise inviolent crime.

“We pray right now for protection, Lord. We pray for strength, Lord,” Pastor Chris Martin used a megaphone, as he led a small march from his church, past a city park where the city’s latest murder victim was found Saturday.

This year, Flint has recorded 52 murders, up from 45 in 2019.  That number includes, four people, including a 10-month-old boy, shot dead in Flint the day after Christmas.  

Flint’s not alone.  Grand Rapids, Detroit, Lansing and Saginaw are among Michigan cities with rising violent crime rates this year.

Flint Police Chief Terrence Green expects the spike in violent crime will ebb as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

“The pandemic has caused stress in the community,” says Green. “It’s also scaled back operations for law enforcement.”

Green expects to see a “positive effect on crime” once the nation gets past the pandemic.

For now, Flint’s police chief says the police department will continue to do its part, but the “community needs to step up” as part of the effort to reduce violent crime in Flint. 

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