GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 5, 2014) — With a string of recent shootings and other violience in downtown Grand Rapids, several people watching fireworks in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday said that they felt comfortable with a strong police presence.
The Grand Rapids Police Department setup their mobile command center in front of the Gerald Ford Museum on Saturday.
Erin Grant is a mother of four and said that this is the first year she’s brought her kids downtown for the big celebration.
“You know they were a lot younger and as they get older, it’s much easier to manage having them around and staying safe,” said Grant.
Grant said that despite a string of shooting in downtown Grand Rapids, nothing will keep her from enjoying the holiday.
“Those things happen. You can’t just live your entire life worrying that something is going to happen. You got to go out and have fun,” said Grant.
The City of Grand Rapids has said that it already uses dozens of surveillance cameras in the downtown area, but is applying for federal funds to buy more equipment so that the city can increase the amount of cameras used to monitor crime.
Amber and Perry-David Van Dillen have been married five years and said that Saturday was the first time they’ve brought out their 2-year-old son for Independence Day. The couple said that simply seeing law enforcement walking around the crowds is enough to give them satisfaction that it will be a safe night.
“There was a cop and handed him a set of stickers and it was kind of nice to have that kind of presence, and same here. It’s helpful to have that. Interacting with the kids. You are not necessarily consciously thinking of it too much, but it is does make you feel a little safer,” said the Van Dillen’s.
With food at every corner and live music along the Grand River, families tell FOX 17 that the night is about spending time with those you love and celebrating America.