You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

Statistics show drastic drop in crime in Ypsilanti's West WIllow neighborhood

By Tom Perkins

Over the last several years, Ypsilanti Township’s West Willow neighborhood endured one of the higher crime rates in the county, prompting neighborhood residents, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department and township staff to work together to eradicate crime.

Now, data shows that residents are enjoying a marked decrease in the number of home invasions and assaults from a year ago, and are generally calling Sheriff’s Department deputies less than in previous years.


Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department Lt. Jim Anuszkiewicz.

Tom Perkins | For

From the middle of October through the end of November in 2012, West Willow saw three home invasions compared to 13 during the same time period last year.

Through the end of November, there were 42 home invasions reported compared to 52 in 2011, and calls for service have dropped by 28 percent from 197 to 140.

Police officials and members of the New West Willow Neighborhood Association attribute the decrease to several factors.

In September, two juveniles linked to eight home invasions in the area were arrested, which had an immediate impact on home invasion statistics.

But Lt. Jim Anuszkiewicz said those arrests and others contributing to West Willow’s crime decline were made possible by the work of the Sheriff’s Department Community Action Team working together with neighborhood residents and the township.

The CAT team was assembled to target violent crimes or problematic situations throughout Ypsilanti Township’s neighborhoods, and collaborates with neighborhood watch groups to gather information. The New West Willow Neighborhood Association is one of the oldest and strongest in Ypsilanti Township.

The township also installed security cameras in the neighborhood, which officials on all sides of the issue say has played a role in pushing out crime.

“You can’t pinpoint one thing — there are a variety of factors that made a significant impact on crime in West Willow,” Anuszkiewicz said. “There’s everything from the CAT team and neighborhood deputies who have done a lot of work and investigations there to the cameras.

"I also think our close relationship with West Willow executive board helps us work with the community a lot better.”

Angela Barbash, who is active in the neighborhood association, highlighted residents’ role in addressing crime. The group has established a citizen patrol team and canvassed the neighborhood with information.

“In addition to the Township installing the cameras, and the deputies increasing their patrols along with establishing the CAT team to work on the east side of the county, residents stepped up their patrols and vigilance,” she said. “About 30 different residents have come forward to help this year.”

Assaults are also down. In the summer of 2011, West Willow made headlines for what police officials described as a “fight club.”

This year, assaults have decreased by 52 percent from 84 reported incidents to 40. Another angle the township and police have taken is approaching landlords over renters who are regularly on officials’ radar. Officials developed a program in which they notify landlords of problem tenants and meet with them to discuss issues.

West Willow used to be a neighborhood where most people owned homes, and Anuszkiewicz said the township and Sheriff’s Department have found problem renters are increasingly an issue as the neighborhoods demographics shifted over the last several years.


West Willow has seen a drop in home invasions and assaults.

Tom Perkins | For

For example, the mother of the youths arrested for the eight home invasions was receiving government assistance, and has since lost her housing assistance because of her kids’ criminal activity.

Sheriff’s Deputies and township officials alerted the Ann Arbor Housing Commission to the tenants’ crimes.

“That was an example of cooperative interaction between the township staff, neighborhood association, Sheriffs Department and landlord — we all worked together,” said Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards. “I honestly think the word is out that if you’re a tenant in the township — especially receiving assistance — you have to follow the law and keep your house in order. If not there are quick and sure consequences."

Radzik said the rental oversight program and other programs requiring partnership between multiple groups and agencies have benefited West Willow residents.

“There’s no entity or agency that pulls this off on their own. Everyone had a role to play to make this work,” he said.

Alisa Doddie recently moved to West Willow and had someone attempt to burglarize her home, but she said the police response was much quicker than where she previously lived in Redford Township. She said the neighbors are vigilant and she feels safe because of the community investment in West Willow.

“We’ve got to know all our neighbors and we all look out for each other,” she said. “It’s a strong community, it really is. I think it’s great to have a sense of community here.”



Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

Awesome news -- but its incomplete without a rundown of the crime statistics in the neighboring areas not in West Willow. As downtown Detroit found out when they tore down most of the slum areas in midtown to build Comerica Park and Ford Field, when you turn the lights on, the roaches just scurry a few blocks in different directions and the crime INCREASED in those areas....

Milton Shift

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

Cut her off from housing assistance because her kids committed crimes? News flash: parents don't really have control over their kids. If a teenager wants to sneak out of the house and do something forbidden, and has no fear of the consequences, they will do it, their parents be damned. How many of us broke the rules? How many of us drove our parents to the brink of madness with our persistent defiance?

Milton Shift

Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 8:52 a.m.

Yeah? How do you propose that you control someone who is out committing robberies? Ever heard of runaways? Still think parents really have control over their kids? Once their kids lose fear of the consequences they are able to impose (legally!) they will do whatever they want and there's not a thing you can do to stop them.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 10:35 p.m.

Greater news flash-- Maybe you don't have control over your kids. That is the number one problem today. There is a huge difference between "sneaking out of the house" and "breaking the rules. Today those problems involve drugs, armed robbery and murder. you can't even compare the two.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

Ask anyone that lived near this woman and these children of hers and they'll tell you it wasn't easy getting them removed. From the moment they moved in they were a problem and it took roughly 2 1/2 years to get them out. It's salt in the wound to think that my tax dollars were paying for a group of lawless people to live in a house for more than two years while they terrorized and destroyed the neighborhood. I referred to them as the wild bunch. One neighbor said they were off the hook. That's putting it nicely. Our property values dropped while our home owners insurance went up due to the crime in the area. Their crime. More salt in the wound. You can not imagine just how bad this situation was or how much crap the neighbors had to deal with during their stay here. Fights, thievery, foul mouthed language we had to not only listen to but were even directed at us. From children no less and their mother set the pace for all of it. In closing, I'd just like to say the phones were ringing all over the neighborhood that morning the U-haul pulled up in front of that house and people stood in windows and came out of their houses to watch these people move. Good riddance. Pray you never have to live near a family like this one. Thanks to the Sheriff's dept., Mike Radzik, and Brenda Stumbo for doing what needed to be done to remove this menace from our midst.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

pitbulls > crime.

Linda Peck

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

I hope Mayor Hieftje in Ann Arbor will read this and take note of the increased numbers of police having a positive effect on crime. It was his position that increased numbers of police did not deter crime, and now we have too few police officers in Ann Arbor and a higher crime rate as a result, along with more traffic accidents and even traffic related deaths.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 8:47 a.m.

basically, we need too look at over a longer period of time before safe say that crime will stay down , a few years ....about 6 maybe...we seen an article about improvement in west willow.

Jay Thomas

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

I think there are less people living there than there used to be as well as more youth being schooled elsewhere through school of choice. That alone should lead to a drop in the crime numbers.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Forget about west willow if you want decades of change and improvement look at the Arrow-wood hills co-op, in 1970's they had bad landscaping and other problems. now a day Arrowwood co-op is the model community of Ann Arbor where I everyone wants too live because affordable Rent and extremely low crime.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

ok look at it this way. 8 years ago you had people hanging out and drinking smoking in parking lots now you its empty almost always. you used had armed robbery at complex now a day not 1 robbery in so many years...nobody playing with toy guns and nobody smoking!!


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

yes true...just compare too every other rental complex or apartments !


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Is this the same Arrowwood off of Pontiac Trail? Exremely low crime??????


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

i got the articles to prove the improvements article "we are making it"


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

crime rates go up and down anyway.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

"Radzik said the rental oversight program and other programs requiring partnership between multiple groups and agencies have benefited West Willow residents." Cutting off those who don't play by the rules is a good deterrent. Nice job! This program must be run by cold-hearted conservatives....................


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

ypsigirl - of course Ypsi is run by democrats, the irony is they actually cut people off. That's something they would normally lambaste the republicans for if they did that to some poor, underpriveliged cold hearted and uncaring


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

Ummm... "This program must be run by cold-hearted conservatives...................." Ypsilanti Township Officials are primarily Democrats. Also, where in this story did it state community crime reduction any affiliation with a political party?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

I will take more stock in this when West Willow is the hot spot to move to..... As stated previously this is nothing more than a crime shift.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

should I STILL take a walk in west williow......

Thinking over here

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

I think a bunch of the houses were built in the 50s as that's when my parents moved in. I lived there from 60-70 and don't recall houses being built (at least around Kaiser elementary). maybe on the outskirts...


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Oh, so much negativity and "Debbie Downer-isms" today to this wonderful article, Ezbgreen. The Houses in West Willow where build during the 1960's-1970's. A majority of the housing stock in this community is anywhere from 40-50 years old. History proves that early nesters or "potential new homeowners" are primarily attracted to newly build housing - constructed within the last 5-10 years. Others appreciate stable, more reliable "older" property, fitting into the needs of their family budgetary guidelines. West Willow is a older community. Until the entire S.E. Michigan Housing market returns to pre-2007 rates (which will take DECADES) communities like W.W. will not be the "hot spot to move into." But for the families who live there, I'm sure this news reported today, is a welcome sign of change to come.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

to Macarthur Blvd & Riley Ct.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

ezbngreen......West Willow has never been a " hot spot " to move to.It was however, a place where the working class people went to for a nice ,decent and affordable place to live.That was of course, before the auto industry tanked in Michigan .And where has this " shift " moved to BTW ?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

I love it !! This came about as a result of those at the Top caring , thank you Brenda Stumbo and Mike Radzik under your direction this is turning around! These are our chosen leaders and when they care it shows in the rank and file. Choose you leaders carefully, I'm proud of the choices the people have made in this case. Some officials could have easily avoided this part of the township and focused on other areas more prosperous. Not these two, they addressed the issue head on and have not stopped, there are many more reasons for the success we enjoy. The inspection of rental homes, which eliminates slum type landlords is another. Looking forward to another greatly improved year, we now needs some jobs lets focus on that, that will really turn us around. Happy New Year!!

Mr. Ed

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Of course crime will go down when you put an army of police in one neighborhood. It's called crime shifting. Your moving the criminals to another neighborhood with less police. This has been going on for years, nothing new here


Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

MrEd, there is no "army of police" in West Willow. I know this because I live in West Willow. Which brings me to this question - YpsiGirl4Ever, West Willow is not in Ypsilanti? I'm dying to know where it is then. Ann Arbor is about 10M up the freeway from here. Belleville doesn't begin until the Rawsonville rd. area. And thats about 3-4 miles away. It's not in Superior and it's for sure not in Canton. Not trying to be a jerk,.... but what mysterious, unnamed city is it in?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

Okay Mr. Ed, Let's debate this: "Police staffing in Ypsilanti is below the national standard, its been that way forever. " West Willow is not in the City of Ypsilanti. "Two have a decitated police army in a small neighborhood is sucking resources from other parts of Ypsilanti Twp." Not true, where's it stated in this article is the WCSO neglecting other parts of Ypsilanti Township? Nowhere, next. "With the right number of police then and only then will crime be reduced in the entire Ypsilanti Twp area not just WW." Well this is true. But, Ypsilanti Township officials can ONLY work with the budget they HAVE. Not an imaginary amount of revenue. If you're concerned about Ypsilanti Township Law Enforcement budget, I suggest you contact Governor Rick Snyder, who just last week signed into law a END to Michigan's Business Tax on Equipment. This action alone will stain local communities like Ypsilanti Township budget for not just police, but for fire and other local resources. Meanwhile, Ypsilanti Township Officials are doing the BEST they can with WHAT they have. "One example is Sugar Brook when the pressure is on WW the criminals moved into Sugar Brook." You must live in SugarBrook. Community leaders in Sugar Brook are more than welcome to collaborate with the NWWNA to synergize concrete ideas, focusing on reducing crime in this community. Now, back to the story. It's excellent news that West Willow has been able to reduce its' community crime rate, working with the WSCO. Let's hope this positive news will continue in 2013.

Mr. Ed

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

Salt no but lets not pepper the facts. The fact that crime is down is a good thing. The fact that the neighborhood community is more involved is a good thing. This has been done before nothing new. The County, WCSO and the Twp of Ypsilanti has spent enormous amounts of money in the past 30 years to reduce crime in WW. Two have a decitated police army in a small neighborhood is sucking resources from other parts of Ypsilanti Twp. The criminals will just move to other parts of the area with less resources. Before you give credit to Stumbo and Radzik lets look at the numbers. Police staffing in Ypsilanti is below the national standard, its been that way forever. With the right number of police then and only then will crime be reduced in the entire Ypsilanti Twp area not just WW. One example is Sugar Brook when the pressure is on WW the criminals moved into Sugar Brook.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

First, Mr. Ed it is not a "army" of law enforcement in this community. Please know of what you speak, or in this case, written. As the story clearly states, the WSCO has worked with the NWWNA using a Community Action Team strategy focused on not just basic law enforcement principles, but engaging West Willow Residents. Interpersonal relationship building forms partnerships, where communities trust law enforcement, and information is shared. The results are less criminal activities, as this article details. And, yes, it is something new and a fact West Willow Community sound be quite proud of. For years in this news resource (and especially in the discussion section), I read comment of negativity about this neighborhood. Today, Ann crafts a factual story about how statistically crime has been reduced in West Willow. Meanwhile, you find a reason to spread salt on a positive article about this community. Hopefully, the New Year will bring you more happiness. Either way, I sure the residents of this community are proud today to read this story about the WCSO and Residents accomplished in 2012, along with plans to continue keeping West Willow Subdivision crime low in 2013.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

I'm glad to see the drop in crime in this area. Maybe the schools could start a program with HSHV similar to what they're doing at the detention center. Crime and violence against animals is not limited to poor neighborhoods. Remember the young man who intentionally ran over baby ducks with his SUV. Crime by young people is handled differently in more affluent neighborhoods.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

This is great news and a model of how a community should be run. Angela Barbash does a great job and I don't think it is a coincedence that the cameras are up and the crime is down. I love the welfare penalty idea. If these measures were implimented in other areas (Macarthur Blvd) that would be great.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

stevek...Your comment took me off guard.Thumbs up for you. @ jondhall...Yes MacArthur is indeed in Superior Township but Washtenaw Country Sheriff covers it like West Willow


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

Is that not Superior Township you refer to?

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Saying "Drastic drop" makes it sound like a bad thing. How about "welcome" drop, or "hoped for" drop?


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

This is great news! I wish we had security cameras in my neighborhood. Those who think that security cameras in public areas are an invasion of privacy have to realize that we all are often being photographed without our knowledge because so many of us now carry cell phones with cameras. Those who protect us should be permitted to use cameras, too.