At least one person walked by the body of Demarius Reed after he was fatally shot, and as many as six people heard gunfire the night of the murder in his apartment complex according to interim Ypsilanti Police Chief Tony DeGiusti.
No one called the police, and the department lost the imperative initial hours to track down the killer. A forum at the student center on Tuesday allowed DeGiusti to emphasize the need to alert officials if something feels amiss.
“Call the police,” he said repeatedly.
DeGiusti said the Ypsilanti Police Department had roughly 40 officers five years ago but now has 25 officers on the force.
“The amount of patrolling around the city hasn’t changed, it’s just being done with fewer people,” he said.
DeGiusti said despite the numbers of the department being downsized, the presence and effectiveness of the police has not been altered.
Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin and EMU’s Chief of Police Robert Heighes spoke at the forum on Tuesday, and also held a question and answer in the student center on Wednesday.
“I want to reassure our students that our campus was safe and is safe,” Martin said.
The fact that many incidents occur “off campus,” but very close to EMU buildings was also brought up at the discussion.
Martin said the focus of EMU’s Department of Public Safety officers is to keep the campus safe but acknowledged that students throughout Ypsilanti need protection.
“Obviously that’s not in our jurisdiction, but we are working to improve safety for our students in the city and in the community,” she said.
Katelyn Bono is a junior at EMU and studies speech pathology. She said students living in Ypsilanti need more consideration regarding their safety.
“The students off campus are still members of our community, and they should still be protected,” she said.
Heighes said the police will be conversing with the management of University Green, Huron View and Peninsular Place apartment complexes to discuss safety precautions. He also said other residential complexes may be added to the list after a student inquired if Riverrain was going to be included in the discussion.
Heighes said the two recent aggravated assaults on EMU students that took place around the city could be related.
“It’s a strong possibility the assault outside of Abe’s Coney Island and the one at the apartments were the same individuals,” he said.
Lacey Rubin, an EMU freshman and exercise science major, also attended the meeting. The intense crime-stopping efforts made by EMU and the police will likely fade with time, she said.
“I feel like they will do it for a month then after there are no more crimes for a bit, they’ll stop,” Rubin said. “We live in Brown, and I’m terrified to walk from the parking structure to our apartment.”
She added: “I don’t feel much better after the meeting.”
Members of the audience brought up Juila Niswender’s death, and many shared their frustration with the reoccurrence of violence around campus.
“We touch that case every single day,” DiGiusti said.
EMU sophomore gymnast and criminology major Khadijah Hudson echoed her fellow students’ sentiments.
“They [the police] say they are going to keep on top of it, but the murder last year is still unsolved and not really a priority anymore,” she said.
Krystal Moroney is studying psychology at EMU for her first year of college. She did not attend the forum but said she is taking safety precautions since the crime spree.
“When I am alone I try to get to where I am going as fast as possible, but I try to avoid walking alone and ask friends to go with me,” she said.
EMU alumnus Carmen Grange has resided in the University Green apartments, where Reed’s body was found, for the past two years. She recently had her first floor window smashed in and voiced her concern at the forum.
“I would like to stay in this area even though I graduated,” she said. “But I don’t feel safe, and that’s not fair.”
Grange said she was not impressed with the response from law enforcement officials at the discussion.
“I don’t really feel any better after the meeting, and I feel like the Ypsilanti Police and EMU police were just trying to cover their ass,” she said. “I would like to hear about what their plan is and how they are going to implement it.”
More recent developments will be available on our website.
This is great....hijab is a beautiful thing.
Thinking to change the times and the laws ... 2013 ...
And soon, the holidays will change to suit.
They are celebrating diversity (wudu washers and "prayer" ...
Yes, that much is obvious but why do so many dhimmi ...