“Enough is Enough”: Flint crime proposal targets certain liquor, convenience stores

“Something needs to be done and they need to be held accountable for what’s going on.”
Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 10:45 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) (10/17/2020)-Certain businesses in blighted, high-crime sections of Flint are on notice tonight.

Flint City Councilman Maurice Davis says gas stations, liquor stores, and convenience stores that allow loitering, drug use, and other bad behavior are a drain on resources Flint simply doesn’t have. He wants them to clean it up or close earlier.

“Something needs to be done and they need to be held accountable for what’s going on.”

Davis wants to flip the script on a trend he views as simply unacceptable.

“We can’t do it,” Davis related. “We need a safer environment. The residents don’t feel secure in their own hometown.”

The Flint Police Department conducted an analysis of crime data involving 24 liquor stores and gas stations throughout the city’s four quadrants. The 24 businesses--most of which are open until 2:00 a.m. or 24 hours a day--collectively accounted for more than 1,000 calls to 911 from Jan. 1 to Oct. 12.

“If you call 911 now, sometimes I have even been put on hold,” Davis explained. “We don’t have the resources to babysit other peoples' businesses.”

The second ward city councilman recently threw his weight behind a proposed ordinance, now in the draft stages, calling for gas stations, liquor stores and convenience stores in blighted, high-crime areas to get their acts together or have their hours cut back to 9:00 p.m. to curb the city’s burgeoning crime problem.

“What you’re serving is just tearing up the community,” he said. “We can no longer tolerate that in the high crime areas.”

Davis got behind the change after an 18-year-old woman died earlier this month in a shooting while driving by the BP gas station near Clio and Myrtle on Flint’s north side.

Just down the street in an abandoned parking lot adjacent to a liquor store, ABC 12 found a carpet of shattered glass, debris and liquor bottles.

A gentleman approached our crew just after it had finished filming and told this reporter the store hadn’t put them there and it wasn’t their responsibility. The clerk inside wouldn’t go on camera, but expressed his opinion that any ordinance should apply to all businesses and not just those in problem spots and that they’d be willing to cut their hours if the city paid their bills.

“We want to cut down on crime here in the City of Flint,” Davis asserted. “We want to be a viable place to come and do good business and live… It’s not where you live, it’s how you live.”

Ordinance signs posted in the windows of another business a few blocks away spell it out that loitering and anti-social behavior aren’t welcome there, which is what Davis wants to see more of.

The city councilman tells ABC 12 the proposal is on the agenda at the next council meeting and says he has the support to push it through following several public hearings slated for later this year.

Crime in the City of Flint: a snapshot

Each year, nearly a half million 911 calls are made throughout Genesee County.

That means, the 1000 calls at those 24 Flint establishments account for roughly .2-percent of all county calls. The big picture question: how much crime is there in the city?

There has been an 18-percent increase in violent crimes so far this year, compared to the same time in 2019. Property crimes, however, are down 18-percent. Overall, the city has seen a nearly 5-percent decrease in crime over the same period last year.

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