After what they call an “unacceptable” number of shootings recently, the Grand Rapids Police Department is flooding certain neighborhoods with additional officers this weekend.
“We have officers on foot, out on bike and in cars,” explains Operation Safe Streets commander Captain Scott Rifenberg. “About 20 officers working the areas where we have recently had shootings.”
Policy say Operation Safe Streets is a response to 4 murders, several attempted murders and over 60 reports of shots fired since August. Along with additional officers they have parked a mobile command center near the intersection of Thomas and Eastern SE. Many in the neighborhoods say they are happy to see the extra police presence.
“I think it will make people think twice before they do what’s been going on,” says Erek Riley, a barber at Ernie’s Barber Shop and Beauty Salon on Eastern Avenue. “
“It’s going to improve the neighborhood, improve the community here,” adds Philly Cheese Steak Express owner Mohammed Jaber. “Help everybody feel safe and I really appreciate it.”
Police say they are also hopeful their increased visibility will encourage people to come forward with information that could help identify suspects in unsolved crimes.
“They know what is going on and where the problems are,” says Captain Rifenberg. “Whether they want to talk to us off the record or on the record, we are more than willing to take that information any way we can get it.”