Annual reports released by the Michigan State Police show an increase in felonious assaults in Washtenaw County between 2019 and 2020.
According to the statistics, felonious assaults, which are described as an attack with a dangerous weapon, increased in Washtenaw County from 780 in 2019 to 935 in 2020, a 16.5% increase. Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township made up about 60% of those felonious assaults in 2020.
“Assault and battery is the most common crime related to felonious assault we’ve seen in Washtenaw County in 2020,“ Washtenaw County Director of Community Engagement Derrick Jackson said.
According to Washtenaw County District Attorney Eli Savit, the main concern and the most common felonious assault crime in Washtenaw County is domestic gun violence, especially in the eastern townships and cities. During the pandemic lockdown when many schools were closed, adults with criminal records seized the opportunity to sell guns on the black market, not only to adults, but also to teens.
"This increase in felonious assault can be traced to the lockdown during the pandemic,“ Savit said. "Lock your car doors if you have a permit and a firearm in your vehicle. This will prevent your firearm from being stolen and being sold on the black market.
“Washtenaw County is vigorously pursuing these felonious assault cases,“ Savit said. “We are taking responsibility to prevent criminals with a history of gun violence from having access to guns. We want these criminals to know that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent after being charged with gun violence. Also, the sheriff’s office has partnered with community groups on violence interruption strategies, which seek to stop gun violence before it occurs.”
Gun violence continues to be a problem throughout 2021 as Eastern Michigan University students have been periodically notified by the university throughout the semester on shootings near and on campus. EMU and Ypsilanti Police previously investigated unconfirmed reports regarding two individuals allegedly seen on EMU's campus Oct. 15, one reported to possibly be holding a long gun.
"We hope to end gun violence in Washtenaw County through our use of public safety services and social justice services,“ Jackson said.