An FBI report released in October has placed Lansing on a list it doesn’t want to be on. Michigan has four of the top 20 most violent cities in the nation — and Lansing now joins Saginaw, Detroit and Kalamazoo as the four most violent in the state.
Priscilla Bordayo, statewide manager for Michigan at Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, said the dubious distinction for Lansing is proof that more change is needed.
“The same old approaches don’t work,” Bordayo said. “We need to invest in proven solutions that tackle the root causes of crime, including trauma recovery, violence prevention, mental health services and elevating victims’ needs.”
Bordayo’s opinions don’t come from speculation; she has been in the thick of it serving the community for years working with crime survivors. When she’s not doing that, she’s meeting with elected officials or planning awareness events.
“I know crime exists, but so does healing,” Bordayo said. “I hear over and over again that victims want what happened to them to not happen again. They want change in how the justice system responds to crime, and they want more funding put into them and their needs.”
Bordayo is working to bring awareness for CSSJ’s services and bring healing to the community through prioritizing prevention, accountability and recovery from harm. CSSJ plans to bring trauma recovery centers to Michigan.
“People need a place to go when they have been affected by trauma,” Bordayo said. “If you are physically hurt, you have a hospital to go to, but what about when you are emotionally and mentally harmed? My goal is to get more people healed. The more people we get healed, the less crime we will see.”
Spreading awareness of the availability of victims’ compensation is on Bordayo’s docket. CSSJ worked to pass historic victims’ compensation reform through the Safer Michigan Act Safer Michigan Act, which was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. Changes will go into effect this summer and will expand victim compensation coverage to account for actual costs resulting from violent crime victimization, increase time crime victims have to apply for help, and remove the two-day reporting requirement and other red tape in the process.
In 2022, CSSJ launched its Member Support Program, which offers resources for healing and wellness, including counseling support, sound therapy and indigenous healing practices. Bordayo said more businesses should become aware and share information about those resources. Support of events through partnerships can go a long way as well.
“We are holding our second annual Survivors Speak Event at the Capitol on April 27,” Bordayo said. “Last year, we had 400 victims/survivors across Michigan gather during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. We would love to see the support of our local businesses.”