GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The city's police chief says crime is on the rise -- and he's blaming this year's warmer than average weather for part of the increase.
"Weather this last winter was extremely warm," says Chief Kevin Belk. "We saw temperatures in the 70s and 80s in March, which causes people to get out and engage. We certainly saw increases in our crime numbers in those months."
Chief Belk Tuesday gave his report to city commissioners on Grand Rapids crime in the first half of this year. The chief says January to June "part one" crimes -- which include robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and thefts -- are up 15% from the same period last year. Other crimes, like murders, sexual assaults, and arson, are down.
While this year's numbers are up, the chief says they also show that 2011 was an unprecedented year for reductions in crime.
"Our aggravated assaults, burglaries were at essentially all-time lows in modern years," says Belk. "Coming off that we've seen some bounce back from the crime of 2011. With the exception of larceny, all of our part one crimes are actually lower than they were in 2010."))
One more point Chief Belk wanted to make centered on the number of fireworks complaints reported in grand rapids. That number more than tripled in the first six months of this year compared to last year. This is the first year commercial fireworks are available to the public.