GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Amid one of the city’s most violent years, the Grand Rapids Police Department says it has an 80% success rate in solving homicides.
GRPD has recorded 22 homicides so far this year, 17 of which GRPD says it has solved. Sgt. Greg Griffin credits the hard work of investigators and the community’s cooperation in maintaining an above-average homicide solve rate, despite the increasing number of cases.
“The solve rate really has to do with the investigators and what kind of rapport they have with the community,” Griffin said.
Five of the city’s homicide cases from this year remain open.
“They are being worked on by the investigators every day and when we get leads, we follow up on them,” Griffin said. “I’m not going to say they’ve stalled but some of them have more challenges than others.”
The challenges often stem from a lack of community cooperation, when people are unwilling to come forward with what they know or saw.
Griffin said GRPD is determined to overcome the obstacle to gun violence, which through June was four percentage points higher than the first half of 2019.
According to investigators, these shootings are rarely random but can be detrimental to the community a whole.
“When you have a drive-by (shooting), bullets don’t see who they’re going at,” Griffin said. “So if you have a drive by at a house, you got innocent victims in there… in the streets, in cars… (and) that bullet is going to go until it stops.”
GRPD said much of the violence has been the result of conflict between groups.
“I just don’t think that these youngsters really realize the damage that they’re doing,” Griffin said.
Lately, he said, those pulling the trigger only seem to be getting younger. For example, a 16-year-old was charged Thursday for allegedly shooting and injuring a 12-year-old earlier in the week.
“We’ve always had youth involved in gangs and violent crimes, but I think it’s escalating even more so and the kids that I’m seeing are a lot younger that I’m used to,” Griffin said.
Police reminded anyone worried about coming forward with information about any crime that they can remain anonymous by going through Silent Observer, which can be reached online or by calling 616.774.2345.