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Posted on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor police chief: Increased police patrols on South University making a difference

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor Police Chief John Seto said efforts to increase police presence around the University of Michigan campus, including the South University bar scene, are proving worthwhile.

"On weekend nights, we have deployed many officers on foot and on bicycles to respond to large crowds on South University," he said. "This has had an impact since there were no serious incidents reported this past weekend. We will continue with this staffing model as long as there are large crowds and the staffing is needed in that area."

With thousands of U-M students back in town for the fall semester, certain parts of Ann Arbor — especially near campus — have been a bit rowdy lately.


Police Chief John Seto

Ryan J. Stanton |

South University, which is lined with popular college bars like the Brown Jug and Good Time Charley's, has been a hot spot for late-night fights for years, and this year is no exception. Police are giving it extra attention now.

At Monday night's Ann Arbor City Council meeting, Seto gave an update on incidents that have occurred in the last few weeks, how police have responded, and what he plans to do next.

"During the last few weeks since the student move-in, there were large crowds on South University and some student assaults in the student area," he said. "There were also three robberies that occurred within the same night, all with very similar descriptions."

Seto said the city has responded with increased patrol staffing in addition to overtime positions the department typically fills during the weekends in September. He didn't give specific numbers.

"I've also been meeting with the U of M police chief to make sure we coordinate information and make sure we're able to assist each other if needed," he said. "Our supervisors and officers have been making contact and working with the establishments on the South University area."

Without giving further details, Seto said "some significant arrests have been made." He said police are continuing outreach efforts in the community and sending out neighborhood watch alerts whenever necessary. He said the city also is assisting U-M with crime alerts being sent to students.

The list of crimes in Ann Arbor over the last few weeks includes home invasions, armed robberies, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults, break-ins at businesses and a stabbing near downtown.

In addition to a number of fights at house parties near campus, two men were reported hospitalized after assaults in the South University area two Saturdays ago.

The first incident took place at 1:45 a.m. at the corner of East University and South University, where police got a call reporting a melee with multiple people throwing punches.

Mayor John Hieftje asked Seto about the increased overtime costs at Monday's meeting. He qualified the question by pointing out he's "totally in favor" of the expenses since it's for a good cause.

"I know we're running up considerable overtime with particularly the stuff on South U," Hieftje said. "Do you know if that will remain within the budget plan?"

Seto said it's hard to tell this early because there are many different factors that go into the overall overtime budget at the end of the year, including the number of University of Michigan football games. The Wolverines play six games at home this season.

Seto said the department will continue to monitor its budget, including overtime, on a monthly basis and will continue to bring in officers on overtime as needed.


Council Member Sabra Briere

Ryan J. Stanton |

Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, asked if Seto could perform an evaluation of the department's overtime expenses as part of the city's upcoming budget process for fiscal year 2013-14 and determine whether it makes sense to hire new officers instead of paying overtime.

"It's difficult for us when you bring your budget to us to evaluate where that money should go — new staff or overtime," Briere said. "And so maybe you could do that evaluation for us."

Seto said he could do that.

He noted the overtime that's regularly scheduled is known as "party patrol." That's when the department puts extra officers on the schedule on Friday and Saturday nights during the month of September and also during big football games throughout the fall.

"Generally speaking, we don't have a regular routine schedule of staffing for overtime," Seto added. "It's just for these particular situations when it's needed."

City Administrator Steve Powers said earlier this month the police department's midnight shift and party patrol issued 112 citations during welcome weekend as U-M students returned for the fall semester. That compared to 80 issued during the same period last year.

That included citations for excessive noise, open intoxicants, minors in possession of alcohol and other ordinance violations.

Overall, welcome weekend citations actually were down because there were an extra 49 citations during pre-game alcohol enforcement last year and there wasn't a home football game this year.

Powers said the city's regular patrol staffing was higher during welcome weekend this year, averaging three to four more officers each night compared to last year.

Council Member Jane Lumm, an Independent who represents the 2nd Ward, said she's noticed an increased presence on South University and it's been appreciated.

Hieftje said the same goes for downtown.

"Chief, I want to congratulate you," he said. "We're continuing to hear good things from people in the downtown area for the work you've done to put more officers down there. They appreciate that."

Seto said his officers enjoy being downtown when the time allows, whether it's day or night and whether it's on foot or on bicycle.

Seto announced Monday night he has scheduled a neighborhood watch block captain meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 27 at Burns Park Elementary School, 1414 Wells St.

All block captains in the area are encouraged to attend, as well as any other interested residents. It will be the first of four such meetings taking place in the different parts of the city.

More information about the city's neighborhood watch program, including how to get a neighborhood watch started, can be found on the police department's website.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Jim Osborn

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

""I know we're running up considerable overtime with particularly the stuff on South U," Hieftje said. "Do you know if that will remain within the budget plan?"' I suggested to the mayor that he end the Sunday morning speed traps on State Street by Howard Cooper and instead enforce 25 MPH on certain residential streets. Stopping crime on South U is also a beter use of the police budget.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

This is an issue that I've harped upon in the past in relation to two other downtown clubs, Studio 4 and 5th Quarter. Instead of letting the events spill out onto the streets, simply put more of a police presence during closing time in these area's. Instead, the city chose to seek the closing of these businesses. Whereas, the same events have been occurring on campus for years on South U. This is nothing new. The only difference is the clientele. Upper-middle class students, as oppose to a younger urban clientele. Some will continue to argue that race isn't the issue, which it isn't, and I'd concur its the crime. But when the city choses a particular method in dealing with two similar issues it begets the question: what's different?

David Couper

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

Congratulations to your new police chief. You can help him out by asking him to review and affirm the 12 qualities necessary for police in our society to hold and practice at: Also visit my blog on police improvement at (Those qualities are: Accountable, Collaborative, Educated and trained, Effective and preventive, Honest, Model citizen, Peacekeeper and protector, Representative, Respectful, Restrained, Servant leader, and Unbiased.) There also is a new book out that may be helpful in thinking about ways in which police can improve by someone who did it: "Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation's Police" (


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

I would have thought the UM Police would be working in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Police. Looks like they aren't.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Good comment, Chimay. What are the city and the U doing to deal with (and stop) this home invasion epidemic? If you home is your castle, shouldn't someone provide a moat?


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Unless I woke up this morning in the New World of Push-Button Police Protection, I have to believe that comments here mostly reflect what happens when someone turns their assumptions into expectations. 1. Government actions are reactive: first a changing condition has to be observed (always after the fact) and then government (police, etc) decide what to do, then they do it. 2. Government response costs money - money obtained by operating a fee & taxation mechanism. AFTER the money is spent, then the public still expects that cost to be justifiable (in their estimation). Rapid Response Systems: don't actually work that quickly and they only work when there's ample "over-stocking" of personnel trained to deal with problems (like fires & crimes). Fire Departments are the most frequent targets for cut-backs because their response time is based on how many fire fighters can be held in reserve over an entire year, year after year. It's clear that maintaining extra police officers to deal with seasonal crime fluctuations would quickly become criticized and rejected by the tax-paying public. If assumptions become unrealistic: then expectations will also be unrealistic - and will remain unsatisfied. No city on this planet has perfect police protection or perfect crime control. That hasn't been invented yet (let alone the means to pay for it). The city has yet to distribute the Push Button Police Protection units to us citizens: until they do - we'd better be thinking about what we can do while waiting for "adequate" police protection to arrive.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Why not just close down the area if it is a know crime district? What is more important: Partying or saving people's lives? Although people do give off CO2 which is a "GREEN HOUSE GAS" so maybe killing people would save the planet? You decide!


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

It's interesting that we're classifying a regularly occurring, repeating event as "one-offs" for budgeting purposes. If I know that events occur on a regular basis and that I will be expected to make such outlays for the foreseeable future, I cannot classify them as "one-time" or "unusual" items within a standard budget. Pretending that this situation ("rowdy fall seasons") might go away one day, or that (despite evidence of regularity) these "party patrols" are irregular is simply a compensation give-away to municipal employees.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Why aren't the UM police covering this with their personnel and possible OT? This would allow our city police to handle the needs of AA citizens, where UM police have no authority. This seems to be miss placed priorities. On the other hand, maybe it is a smart decision on the part of the new chief. It is much easier to catch a drunk UM student stumbling out of a bar vs. a home invader. This does not sound right to me.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

It's the University's children (aka students) causing most of the problems there so why isn't it the University's police force covering the area?


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

re: J Osborn. Since it could not be the overly polite, charming, nonviolent, even-tempered, turn the other cheek student population causing any problems, let's raise the sceptre of the evil Kingdom of Barbaria, the western boundary of which is Carpenter Road. The geographical extent of that dark realm is limited only by which of the "cities further east" one wishes to accuse of supplying the alleged criminal element.

Jim Osborn

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

Check the arrest reports. I'd bet many are not UM students at all, but come from cities further east.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

I have an idea. How about the UM Public Safety people join with the AAPD for those South U "party patrols"? Since it is primarily their "customers" that are responsible for what goes on there, they should at least share in the responsibility and more importantly, the cost. The city isn't your babysitter.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.


Linda Peck

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

This is good news, that there are patrols where they are needed. We also need patrols downtown. It does help, as Chief Seto says, to have this presence. I can remember when Major Hieftje said, not so long ago, that increasing police presence did not help in deterring crime, so I am pleased to see that he is in favor at this time of police patrol on the streets.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

This is long overdue. This area has had a huge crime problem over the last several years. The most disturbing crimes are the unprovoked assaults and sexual crimes. Hopefully, they will keep it up and it will have a positive impact.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

Bout time, i like this guy. It was a city before the college, as is still now. Put the students in their place and charge them accordingly. Their parents will bail them out.....

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

It will definitely get worse before it gets better. Just driving down Packard between Granger and State street is like being at Mardi Gras every damn Saturday. Broken bottles, stray dogs (canines), and blitzed students make driving down Packard a pretty serious challenge as well.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

Glad you clarified "canines", lol.

4 Fingers

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

Wow. What a novel concept. Police are present and crime dissipates. Who'd a thunk that would work?


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Almost word for word the post I was about to make, well said!

Jim Osborn

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

This is wonderful news! Police Chief Seto is taking the right action to lower the late weekend night crime on South University and spill-over areas. For years, the Ann Arbor News and now the AnnArbor.con crime reports have always had an article about a crime that happened at 11 PM or 1 AM on South U or Church Street on a Friday or Saturday night. It was as predictable as Michigan playing in the Big House for home games. South-Central Los Angels near the USC campus has not been a safe area for over 50 years. In 1984, the Summer Olympics were held at the LA Memorial Coliseum and USC campus, and it was very safe. I was there and felt safe. Why? There was a large police presence and the criminal element retreated. By having these bicycle patrols, Ann Arbor police can have the best of both worlds; they will be like a foot patrol officer, but if they quickly a need to be in 2 blocks away, they will be. Just the sight of the police will deter many criminals, now, and in the future. This is so much more useful than enforcing Sunday morning speed traps. I saw 2 of these bibycle officers respond to a call on a Sunday evening at William and Thompson 9 days ago, and I was intrigued. Good job Chief Seto and Ann Arbor Police!


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

This is lovely, but I am more interested in knowing what they are doing about the multiple nightly home invasions.

Jim Osborn

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:03 a.m.

I'm concerned about the "night-time" Home invasions that involve weapons; it is just that they are not "nightly". Also, the statistics are flawed since burglaries are also called "home invasions", whether the homeowners are present or gone. When that UM football player was charged with one count of "home invasions, I wondered how he could commit such an armed robbery until I learned that he was accused of taking something from an open door of an unoccupied dorm room - a big, big difference.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

In the 10th paragraph, the article refers to home invasions. According to, they are occurring on a basis that is too regular for comfort, particularly since some of them have been in my neighborhood and some have involved weapons. So no, I don't think drunk students and other riff-raff are as important. has been reporting on the home invasions.

Jim Osborn

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

"nightly" implies every night. Has been supressing news? Wow! This should be national news, "We lead tonight with ... A small Midwest College city is having MULTIPLE NIGHTLY home invasions..."

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

The home invasions are a bit more pressing than drunk students.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

"multiple nightly home invasions." Yes, and I want to know what's being done about those darn aliens.