Large gatherings outside of Benton Harbor service station convenience stores and elsewhere and incessant speeding and racing through the streets will be attacked head on by the Michigan State Police thanks to an assistance plan announced by the city under the Secure Cities Initiative designed to combat public disorder.
Daniel McGinnis, Director of the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety issued a statement tonight about the situation. Here is what he says on the matter:
“There has been an influx of public disorder in the form of large gatherings and incessant speeding and racing in the city of Benton Harbor. The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety continues to receive complaints about speeding vehicles throughout the city. There are also mini bikes and 4-wheelers that zoom up and down the streets and sidewalks. In addition to this, young adults gather in large crowds all over the city, with groups sometimes into the hundreds. They play loud music, twerk on top of cars, shoot guns in the air, and are a general menace to the peace and tranquility of the residential neighborhoods. The Benton Harbor City Commission and many citizens have called for strict enforcement to regain order and tranquility in the city.
Benton Harbor is a community of the Governor’s Secure Cities Initiative. With that designation, the city is afforded resources of the Michigan State Police. Benton Harbor has been a Secure City since 2015, and since then has had an excellent relationship with the Michigan State Police. Benton Harbor crime rates continue to decline yearly. But since the beginning of the pandemic, public disorder crimes have proliferated and have disturbed the peace and tranquility of the city as a whole.
BHDPS reached out to the Michigan State Police and requested assistance to help with speeding vehicles and large gatherings. Beginning Wednesday August 5, 2020, the Michigan State Police will dedicate a Squad of 6 Troopers working full time in the city. This assignment will be for several weeks.
A major component of the extra patrols will be for traffic enforcement. We have learned people who race up and down the streets are doing so with rental cars.
Actions to be taken by law enforcement officers include but are not limited to:
- At the request of car rental companies, rental cars will be impounded if they are recklessly driven by anyone who is not the contractual renter of the vehicle.
- We will also be looking to confiscate any illegal motor bike or 4-wheeler operating on the roadways.
- People at large gatherings may be cited as violation of the Governor’s COVID-19 Executive order for public gatherings and social distancing.
- Vehicles that are at these parties that congest the roadways and hinder passage may be towed at the owner’s expense.
- Lastly, the State Troopers will be able to enforce the city’s ordinance on loud music.
We thank the citizens of Benton Harbor for their feedback on these issues. We also encourage residents to go to their smart phone app store and down the BHDPS app for anonymous tips.
We would like to thank the Michigan State Police, and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office for their support and resources they have extended to the city.”