When living in a major city, hearing about high-speed chases, armed robberies and homicides is not an unusual circumstance. However, in small towns and municipalities like Meridian Township, these crimes have come in sporadic moments. Not what someone would consider a part of daily life.
The town could even be considered “boring,” by crime standards. Yet, Meridian’s residents and law enforcement are just fine with holding that title.
The Meridian Police Department has a force of 45 full-time officers. With 39,116 residents in the municipality, Meridian Township is considered a safe community. Violent crime is very low, with the last murder more than four years ago.
In the most recent police report, from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2007, Meridian Township has seen a six percent decrease in an already low robbery rate, larceny and traffic accidents. Sergeant Randy Kindy credits both the Meridian Police and the town’s residents for the low crime rate.
“We have quality police service, our department does an excellent job of taking a proactive approach to crime,” said Kindy, who has been a member of the Meridian Police Department for 26 years. “Plus, our relationship with the school systems is excellent. I think people enjoy the service.”
Juliet Wang, a Michigan State University journalism junior and Okemos native agreed.
“I’ve lived in Okemos my whole life and can’t really recall seeing any major crime here,” said Wang. “You would think with the town being next to a major university more crime would occur, but it’s not like that. It’s a safe place to live.”
The biggest increase was robbery. Based on the third quarterly report, from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2007, robbery increased by 300%, from 1 in the 2006 third quarterly rate to 4 in 2007. The biggest drop was larceny, which had a six percent decrease from 186 in 2006 to 174 in 2007.
Another continuing trend is the increase in rape and attempted rape. There has been a 67 percent increase in this category, from six cases in 2006 to 10 in 2007. Sergeant Randy Kindy wants to crack down on all forms of crime, regardless of what it is.
“All crime needs to be addressed,” said Kindy. “You can’t just pick one in particular, they are all important.”
Despite an overall low crime rate, the Police Department has numerous services to keep it that way and prevent future issues. They are aware that in order to maintain a safe environment, the community has to be involved as well.
Organizations such as the neighborhood watch, citizen academy and Capitol Area Response Effort or C.A.R.E. all provide both the police and the town’s population way for both to interact with each other to keep the crime rate low.
The Neighborhood Watch Program involves everyday people who keep an eye out in their neighborhood if a criminal activity takes place. They are able to warn other neighbors and report incidents to the police.
The Citizen Academy is offered by the Meridian Police Department and they inform people about the judicial system and the police department.
C.A.R.E is a program implemented to help victims and families of domestic violence. A team of people is on-call whenever a domestic dispute happens.
These and other programs are ways in which the community joins forces with Meridian Township Police Department to ensure and maintain a safe environment for everyone.
“The fact that we have a good relationship with the community’s residents helps us do our job as police officers,” said Kindy. “That’s the main thing, the professionalism.”
For more information on volunteering for these organizations and others, contact the Meridian Township Police Department at (517) 853-4800.