MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Tiffany Mackie has lived in Muskegon Heights for 23 years.
“We’re losing lives everyday,” she said.
In neighborhoods where children are always outside, Mackie said she let’s her 7-year-old daughter play everywhere except Muskegon Heights.
“…in the hood. Cause this is what it is, the hood. I don’t let her play in the hood,” Mackie said.
“You don’t know when a bullet comin,” she added.
For the handful of residents FOX 17 spoke with, boarded up homes, overgrown lots, and abandoned buildings aren’t nearly as concerning as the violence plaguing the community.
Resident Jerry Ready said, “For me, the difference now is that back in the day, if it was trouble, we would dance or fight or shake hands, walk away. [That] was normal. Now, it seems the young ones, they wanna pick up guns, and they want to hurt each other, and it’s unfortunate because they very young.”
These are individuals who they say have fallen through the cracks and onto the wrong side of the law. They’re now in need of a second chance.
“But the idea is, we don’t want anybody to have to take advantage of there second chance,” DJ Hilson, the Muskegon County Prosecutor said.
“In other words, we want them to recognize their true potential while they’re still, I guess, able to do so, without having the criminal justice system direct them in a certain way,” he said.
“That, again, goes to what’s going on in the home, ya know, are they taking school seriously? Do they understand that it take s a job to earn a living?” he added.
Hilson stressed the need for the community to step to the plate on this issue. It’s a collective effort towards prevention. Mackie expressed the need for a stronger, well-functioning school system and a dire need for mentors. However, she said she won’t stick around to see any changes.
“I’m moving to California next month. So that’s what I’m doing to change my daughter from having to grow up in this,” she said.
Mackie noted that bad things happen everywhere. Hilson noted that there are good people doing good things in Muskegon Heights.