Students speak out on community safety

Eastern Michigan University students attended last week’s Ypsilanti City Council meeting to demand the city do more to protect them.

EMU Student Body President Desmond Miller was at the meeting and spoke to the council about possibly installing security cameras around the city or getting an ordinance passed to require multi-housing facilities to have them.

“We’re not asking for a camera on every corner, but a few in concentrated areas,” he said.

According to Miller, his appearance at the meeting is part of a larger strategy to improve student safety on and off campus.

“Of course we’re going to make sure our students put pressure on the landlords and not leasing from resident halls or hall period that don’t have the proper security measures, but outside of that I think it’s very important that the city puts pressure on landlords to install security measures to protect residents,” Miller said, adding he would also be attending Ypsilanti Township’s next Board of Trustees meeting.

The council listened to Miller’s suggestions, but did not agree to any particular course of action.

“I think some of those have contentious in other communities, but they are worth looking into,” Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said.

Concerns about student safety have been a major issue for the EMU community since last month, after a series of crimes occurred against students that included assaults off campus, sexual assaults on campus, and the death of football player Demarius Reed, who was found shot in front
of his off-campus apartment.

“This is a crisis not just for EMU, but for the city,” Schreiber said.

The city of Ypsilanti has since hired two additional police officers, and is looking to hire two to three more. They have also agreed to participate with EMU’s Police Department and the Washtenaw Sheriff’s Office in jointly patrolling the residential areas on LeForge Road just north of EMU’s main campus.

Ypsilanti Interim Police Chief Tony DeGiusti also addressed the council and provided an update on the investigation of Reed’s death.

“We’ve done a whole ton of work but there’s a lot of work left,” DeGiusti said.

According to DeGiusti, the police have put 600 man-hours into solving the case.

“We’ve executed 14 search warrants, seized 42 pieces of evidence and interviewed over 50 people,” DeGiusti said. “We’ll feel like the investigation is heading in the right direction, but I can’t say that there is an arrest imminent.”

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