Chief Kevin Belk, Grand Rapids Police Department
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Police Chief Kevin Belk says he has no easy explanation for the recent spike in violence in the city -- and no simple solution.
"This is a very complicated issue," Belk says. "Our community is rich in resources, but at the same time we continue to have the violence that's happening."
In the past month, nine people have been murdered in Grand Rapids. The latest was Monday night when Anthony Tompkins, 23, was found shot to death on Sweet Street NE. In another recent shooting a man was critically wounded Tuesday afternoon on Eastern Avenue SE.
But even with the recent spike in crime, Chief Belk says Grand Rapids is a safe city and, working together, he believes the police and community can stop the bloodshed.
"It's not easy," says Belk. "I don't think there is any set of things we can sit down and strategize and say that will take care of the crime in Grand Rapids. What we need is the community to come together and say, 'We are not going to tolerate this in our community.' That's what it's going to take to put an end to the violence or at least see a significant reduction."
Belk held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the arrest in the Tompkins murder and to address recent violence in Grand Rapids.
Police are hosting a community organization meeting at 8 a.m. Friday at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church on Henry Avenue in Grand Rapids. Individuals and organizations are invited to attend and join the conversation about ways to stop the violence.
"It's not an easy fix and it's going to take time to resolve," says Chief Belk.