Friday, February 26, 2010

Warning Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

HealthDayBy Diana KohnleWednesday, February 24, 2010
(HealthDay News) -- Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless toxic gas. It's released by the burning of any fuel, and exposure can lead to hospitalization or even death.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this list of common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
Vomiting or feeling nauseous.
Feeling dizzy.
Having chest pains.
Having a headache.
While none of these symptoms should be ignored, warning signs of more severe carbon monoxide poisoning include confusion, agitation or unconsciousness. They require immediate medical attention.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Burglar kills family pet, ransacks Holly Township home

By Anna Troppens
Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 8:10 AM EST
Holly Twp. — A home invasion has left the Yagiela family with a dead pet, a ransacked house and many stolen belongings. On Tuesday, Feb. 16, Mike Yagiela left his house on Belford Road at 9 a.m. and returned at 2 p.m. His door was kicked in, and the entire house was torn apart. In addition, his dog of 10 years, Nanook, was shot and left to die. The wound on the dog’s left side was consistent with a small caliber handgun, said Det. Sgt. Gary Muir, of the Michigan State Police Groveland Post. “It’s definitely elevated from a regular breaking and entering,” Yagiela said. The state police told him most criminals don’t bring a gun to a breaking and entering, and they don’t kill animals.
Mike and his wife, Tonyia, were both away from home at the time. Mike said he is thankful for that, because they could have been shot, too. They are very upset about their German shepherd/Chow mix, Nanook, being killed. “He was a beautiful dog,” Mike said. “He’d lick you to death, but he’d never bite anybody.” Their pets are like their children, said Mike, who returned on Feb. 16 to find Nanook lying dead in the kitchen, near the door. Numerous items were taken from the home. These included musical equipment, a handgun, jewelry, a television and other items, Mike Yagiela said. “They just cleaned us out.”  The thieves turned furniture upside down and ripped drawers out. Things were tossed around. Yagiela believes it was more than one person. The thieves shut the door as they left, so no one would notice. The Yagielas have insurance, but Mike recently lost his job. “Then this happened,” he said. “My wife is terrified. She doesn’t really want to stay here.” Their neighbors have had break-ins, but the Yagielas never had any problems before, Mike said. State police have some physical evidence they are sending to a laboratory, Muir said. Anyone who has any information on the incident should contact the Michigan State Police Groveland Post at (248); 810-433-6792

Monday, February 22, 2010

Motorist stops, pulls elderly man from house fire

An elderly man was pulled from his burning central Michigan home by a motorist who stopped to help the homeowner as he tried in vain to save his pet dog.
The motorist stopped Saturday afternoon and ran to the burning trailer home in the town of Clare. He pulled the stunned 81-year-old man to safety and then tried to enter the smoke-filled trailer to find the man's dog.
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Clare Police Officer Brian Gregory tells The Morning Sun that the dog was eventually found but despite extensive efforts to revive the dog "we couldn't save the little guy."
He says the scene was emotional because the elderly man's beloved dog was 22 years old.
Gregory says the man was taken to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The Benefits of Home Security Cameras

Ralph Winn Feb 21, 2010
Home security cameras are a great part of any home security system, and provide a number of benefits for a relatively small initial outlay.
Having visible home security cameras installed around your property can be an excellent deterrent to potential burglars, trespassers, and arsonists. After all, they’re far less likely to commit a crime if they think they’re going to be caught.
Security cameras can also let you know who is at your door, or who is currently on the premises. They can be great for monitoring staff such as nannies or gardeners, as well as contractors. You can also use your security cameras to keep an eye on your children.
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If a criminal activity does occur on or near your premises, you can use the footage taken by your security cameras to help police or other law enforcement authorities identify and capture the culprit.
In addition to the various safety and security measures afforded by home security cameras, security cameras are also a great way to help bring down your home insurance premiums. The fact that can act as a deterrent to criminals means that your home is less at risk of a home invasion and burglary, meaning that you’re less likely to have to make a claim on your insurance policy.
The benefits of home security cameras far outweigh their costs, so consider incorporating them into your home security system today.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Smoking remains number one cause of home fire deaths

Some statistics tell us that smoking is on the rise; others tell us that it is declining. Either way, there are still plenty of smokers out there! Regarding home fires, it isn't only the smokers who suffer, as one-fourth of the people killed in home fires caused by smokers are non-smokers. Each year, almost 1,000 civilians (smokers and non-smokers) are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials. Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States, and has been for years.
A fire broke out at 4:30 a.m. Dec. 28 in northeastern Mississippi. The fire was started by careless smokers, and it claimed the lives of the nine people in that apartment. The ages of the victims ranged from 25 years old down to the youngest victim, who was only 6 months old.
The safest thing that smokers can do for their families is to smoke outside. It may not be too difficult for some, but in Michigan, it takes a brave soul to head outside in the winter months for a smoke. There are many makeshift smoking lounges set up in Michigan garages, and that is better than smoking in the house.
Ashtrays should be large and sturdy. You want an ashtray that will hold the entire cigarette if you forget about it and leave it burning. You also want one sturdy enough that it will not tip over easily. Many states have Fire Safe Cigarettes, but some do not. The Fire Safe Cigarette is one that should self-extinguish once lit and not smoked for a short period of time.
This one may seems pretty simple, but never smoke in a house where oxygen is used for medical conditions. I can't tell you how many times I have seen emphysema patients smoking while a nasal cannula sits on their face. I have also responded to a number of fires where this was the cause.
Keep in mind that cigarettes burn at a lower temperature than open flames from a candle or match. When cigarettes come into contact with flammable materials, the materials tend to smolder before breaking out into flames. This is why so many cigarette-caused fires happen in the early morning hours, long after the cigarette has met ignitable materials and after the occupants have gone to bed.
Never smoke in bed, or when you are tired, medicated or intoxicated. This is where the high death toll really piles up — when people are not in an alert state of mind. Some general safety tips can go a long way in the homes of smokers and non-smokers alike. Have plenty of smoke alarms in the home, on all levels of the home and outside of sleeping areas. Make sure they are tested monthly and batteries are changed at least once a year. A home fire escape plan should be drawn up and practiced at least twice a year with the entire family.
Tom Kiurskiis training coordinator for the Livonia Fire Department.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trio charged in home break-in

By Catherine Kavanaugh, Daily Tribune Staff Writer
Suspects followed victim when she left work in Detroit.ROYAL OAK — Three more men have been charged for breaking into a Dorchester Avenue house and robbing the residents who hid in a closet and bathroom from what police describe as gun-toting intruders.Kyle Lester, 20, of Detroit, Justin Sanford, 19, of Farmington Hills, and Donte Leonard, 18, of Detroit each are being held on $500,000 bond for assault with intent to rob while armed, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, first-degree home invasion, and conspiracy to commit home invasion.The trio is scheduled for preliminary exams Feb. 26 in 44th District Court on the felonies, which carry penalties ranging from 20 years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both for home invasion, to life in prison for the armed robbery counts.The suspects reportedly followed a woman home from her job in Detroit about 3 a.m. Jan. 25, kicked in her front door and yelled, "ATF police, get down.""They were all involved in the forced entry," Lt. Gordon Young said.The culprits reportedly ran to an upstairs bedroom and stole property before fleeing when police arrived.Police arrested a suspected get-away car driver at the scene that night. Darius Lewis, 20, of Detroit was charged last month with unarmed robbery and conspiracy to commit unarmed robbery.A police dog from Madison Heights followed the trail of the suspects who ran through the back yard. The K-9 unit found a cell phone in the victim's yard and then tracked the culprits east to Symes Avenue through Kenwood Park. The dog found purses that belonged to the resident and her roommate and two handguns hidden in the landscaping of a house in the 600 block of Symes.The next day, the Oakland County Crime Suppression Task Force set up surveillance where the guns were found in case the suspects returned for the weapons. The three suspects charged Friday were part of a group that looked in bushes where the guns were located.Police said they believe the 27-year-old victim, who checks IDs at the door of Cheetah's, 19245 Eight Mile Road, was targeted randomly. She called police as soon as she got to her house in the 600 block of N. Dorchester Ave. to report that she had been followed from work.The victim hid with her children ages 5 and 7 in a bedroom closet while the roommate, 19, hid in the bathtub until police arrived. A Royal Oak dispatcher gave the mother updates on her cell phone as to where the responding officers were.Police said the victims were "terrified" but not hurt physically.Contact Catherine Kavanaugh at or (586) 783-0216.

Police: Teen Tied Up During Break-In

Armed Men Rob Sterling Heights Family
POSTED: Monday, February 15, 2010
UPDATED: 8:12 pm EST February 15, 2010
HEDGE DRIVE, STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. -- A 15-year-old boy was bound and gagged with duct tape during a home invasion Friday in Sterling Heights, police said.
Sterling Heights police said two men broke into a home in the 3100 block of Hedge Drive and confronted the teen in the kitchen.
“They put a gun to my head and said, ‘Get down!” the teen told Local during an interview. “He tied me up with some wire and put the duct tape on me.”
The teen said he was then dragged into a bedroom closet.
Police said the teen's parents arrived home just before 10 p.m. and found the two intruders, one armed with a black handgun, still inside the house.
The husband told police the men stole his wallet and chased the wife outside of the house before leaving with stolen cash and jewelry.
“They tried to come back in the house. I locked the door and they took off, they had a gun,” the husband is heard telling a 911 operator.
The couple told police they were also robbed at gunpoint on New Year's Eve a short distance from their nail salon on Eight Mile and Schoenherr roads.
Police are investigating whether the same people committed the two robberies. Police said they believe when the husband’s wallet was stolen on New Year’s Eve, the thieves could have used his information to find his home.
Police released the following descriptions of the two intruders:
Black male, 25 years old, 6 feet 3 inches tall with a heavy build. He was wearing a dark navy jacket, jeans and a black mask.
Black male, 25 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall with a thin build. He was wearing a green hooded sweatshirt with yellow dots, jeans and a red mask.
Anyone with information on the robbery can anonymously text the Sterling Heights Police Department at 847411 and begin the message with "shpolice." Or, call the department at 586-446-2800.

Police: CO Poisoning Kills Man

Rutherford Street House Was Cut Off From Gas
POSTED: Tuesday, February 16, 2010
UPDATED: 5:56 pm EST February 16, 2010
9911 RUTHERFORD STREET, DETROIT -- A 57-year-old man was found dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in a Detroit house Tuesday, Detroit police said.
Police said a friend found Welton Crawford deceased inside the west side house at 9911 Rutherford St.
Police said a 34-year-old woman who was also inside the house was hospitalized, but is expected to be OK.
Family members of the deceased told police a kerosene heater and generator had been warming the home since Monday after DTE removed gas sources from the house.
DTE said the house was improperly connected to gas and electric sources.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Harper Woods considers cul-de-sacs to cut crime

Harper Woods is looking to cut crime by using barriers to block some streets or create new traffic flow patterns.
Police Chief Randolph Skotarczyk conducted a feasibility study, and a draft report has been reviewed by the City Council. City Manager Jim Leidlein said the report has been sent back for revisions.
"It's not something I think should be approached lightly. ... It has potential," Skotarczyk said.
Harper Woods has several major roads and sits along I-94. City officials said blocking off some streets might make escape more difficult for those who commit crimes in the city.
Skotarczyk said crime has not increased greatly in Harper Woods, but said he believes the numbers are too high for a city of just 2.63 square miles with about 14,000 residents. Though serious crimes dropped in 2008 -- the last year for which totals were available -- robberies, carjackings and larcenies rose.
"I'm in favor of reducing crime," Skotarczyk said. "I'm not in favor of making life difficult for our residents. If it ends up angering your populace, it's not worth it."
Skotarczyk and Leidlein won't say which streets are being considered for changes and declined to release the draft report, saying it might cause unnecessary concerns among residents.
However, they have dropped some clues.
Skotarczyk said two areas where a trial run could provide insight are a four-square-block area in the southwest section of the city and the southeast part of town. Both areas, he said, have been hit hard by crime.
Council members and city officials said they intend to hold informational meetings to gather input before deciding whether any plan should be implemented.
Fire Chief Sean Gunnery said barriers minimally would affect his crews, who would be instructed on what streets to use and have maps.
In 2008, some streets in Detroit's Palmer Woods neighborhood were blocked in a test study to determine traffic flow impact, particularly on cut-through traffic from 7 Mile and Woodward.
Palmer Woods Association President Craig Vanderburg said there was about a 30% decrease in traffic flow. The group is working with the city to develop permanent changes, he said.
In Grosse Pointe Park, a few streets have barriers separating the city from Detroit. The closure of Korte in the early 1990s drew controversy when residents in both cities questioned if the motive was to keep black Detroiters from crossing into mostly white Grosse Pointe Park.
Grosse Pointe Park officials said the move was to control traffic problems and was not racially motivated.
Contact CHRISTINA HALL: 586-826-7265 or

Carbon Monoxide Issues

Question: I just bought a house with gas appliances and an older furnace. I'm worried about carbon monoxide poisoning.
Answer: You can't see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, but at high levels, it can kill a person within a few minutes. In fact, this poisonous gas kills about 500 Americans every year.
Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. Cars, trucks, small gasoline engines, furnaces, water heaters, grills, fireplaces, wood and gas stoves and lanterns all produce carbon monoxide.
If you maintain and use these items properly, poisoning should not be a problem. However, if engines and appliances aren't working properly, or if they are used in an enclosed or poorly ventilated area, carbon monoxide gas can build up and become deadly.
The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and weakness. As the poisoning progresses, the person may become confused, have trouble breathing and pass out.
Because these symptoms are easy to confuse with a bad cold, the flu or food poisoning, the person may ignore them or put off getting medical care. If poisoning occurs while someone is sleeping, that person may die without ever realizing that anything was wrong.
If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, open windows and doors to ventilate rooms. Go outside to breathe fresh air. Call your fire department or other emergency personnel. If symptoms seem severe, ask to be taken to a hospital.
To help prevent a serious medical problem, install a carbon monoxide alarm that carries an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification outside sleeping areas and on every floor of your home. The alarm will sound before dangerous levels can build up. Other devices, such as carbon monoxide indicator cards, can help detect high levels, but they don't have an audible alarm to wake you.
Having an alarm, however, won't stop the buildup of toxic gas. The only way to avoid CO poisoning is to prevent it. These steps can help:
• Ask a mechanic to inspect your vehicle's exhaust system to make sure it is working correctly. In winter, make sure the tailpipe is free of snow. If you warm up your car, pull it out of the garage. Running the engine in the garage, even with the door open, puts you at risk.
• Hire a professional to install fuel-burning appliances such as a gas dryer or water heater. Make sure the equipment carries UL certification.
• Have your furnace, water heater and gas dryer inspected annually to make sure they are functioning correctly.
• Clean and check chimneys and flues for your woodstove and fireplace every year.
• If you have a kerosene heater or other type of fuel-burning room heater, use it only when you are awake. Make sure it is properly vented.
• Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors or in a garage.
• Do not use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is entirely preventable. Don't let maintenance on your home, vehicle and fuel-burning appliances slide. If the power goes out during a winter storm, be sure to use alternative heating sources properly. And if your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, don't ignore it even if you don't notice any symptoms.
Carbon monoxide is nicknamed the silent killer for a reason.
Have a question? Send it to

Friday, February 12, 2010

Seniors Evacuated From Apts. After Fire

Four Treated For Smoke Inhalation
POSTED: Thursday, February 11, 2010
UPDATED: 10:20 am EST February 11, 2010
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. -- Several senior citizens have been forced from their homes in Farmington Hills because of a fire.
The fire broke out at about 1 a.m. Thursday at the Baptist Manor — an assisted living home.
According to residents, it started in an upstairs laundry room. A woman smelled smoke and pounded on doors to alert other residents.
Four people were transported to Botsford Hospital with smoke inhalation.
Several apartments suffered water damage.

Homeowners On Alert After Rash Of Break-Ins

(WXYZ) - Police are warning residents in Bloomfield Township to be on high alert after a rash of late-night break-ins. Police say there have been at least seven break-ins at homes in the area over the last couple of weeks. In some cases, doors were pried open, and in others the thief or thieves got in through unlocked doors.Police say, no one was home during any of the break-ins, and it's not known if the same suspect or suspects are involved in each crime.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Missing Columbus man with Alzheimer's finds lucky break in West Michigan

By Tom Rademacher The Grand Rapids Press
February 07, 2010, 6:00AM
For reasons no one really knows — maybe to teach us all a subtle lesson — Sanford E. Mitchell climbed into his car one day last month and drove about 250 miles from his home in Columbus, Ohio, to Jenison.
Nothing unusual about a road trip, under normal circumstances. But Mitchell, who is 79, recalls only bits and pieces of the trip, due to the early effects of Alzheimer’s.
The Ohio Missing Adult Alert System was activated, but it would be two long days before his family in Columbus would know whether he was dead or alive.
Thanks in large part to a gentleman by the name of Stephon Blackwell, Mitchell not only was alive, but ended up watching football and eating meatloaf and cornbread with mashed potatoes and green beans while waiting to be reunited with loved ones.
The drama began two weekends ago when Mitchell drove away from his Columbus apartment in his silver Toyota Camry.
The next untold number of hours is a big question mark, but this much is known: somehow, he made it safely to Jenison, where he parked his car, then wandered a short distance into the Speedway station at 279 Baldwin St.
Dave Barrett was working behind the counter when the driver approached and said he was just a couple of blocks from home and needed gas to make it the rest of the way.
About then, Stephon Blackwell came in. He is a regular patron and had just finished attending Sunday services at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church on Franklin Street SE in Grand Rapids.
“We call ourselves ‘The Friendly Church on the Corner,’” Blackwell told me.
Blackwell was only looking for some snacks to take to his home in Jenison when Barrett started sharing details about the elderly gentleman who had just walked in seeking fuel.
Both men realized from the way Mitchell talked and acted that something wasn’t adding up. For one, he was pointing in different directions to where he left his car.
He seemed confused in general.
This is the point in the story where you and I get to play multiple choice:
A. Leave the problem in the hands of the guy at the Speedway, or another.
B. Call a cop.
C. Assume the old codger will figure things out on his own.
D. Actually put into practice what so many wear on their wrists, challenging one another to consider “WWJD,” or “What Would Jesus Do?”
Without thinking twice, Blackwell, a 49-year-old painter with a wife and daughter, chose D.
“C’mon, man,” Blackwell said to Mitchell as they stood outside the Speedway. “Get in my truck. It’s cold out here.”
A call to family
Blackwell was able to get a phone number from Mitchell that linked to his daughter, but Mitchell didn’t remember the area code, only that she lived in Columbus.
Incredibly, Blackwell had recently done some painting in — of all places, Columbus — and it wasn’t long before he was connecting with Mitchell’s daughter, Sandra Phipps, 42.
“She was hollering. She was hysterical,” Blackwell recalled.
“She told me he’d been missing almost two days and that all of Columbus, Ohio, was looking for him.”
Later, Sandra would share that she was beside herself with worry, not knowing whether her father was dead or alive.
“I’m his daddy’s girl,” she said. “That’s my heart.”
Blackwell shared details with Sandra over the phone, building trust between the two of them, then posed a question: “Do you think it’s OK if I take him home today?”
Sandra said yes and that she would drive up to get him.
After giving her directions to his home, Blackwell and Mitchell drove off for Sunday dinner in his 2000 Chevy Silverado.
Gracious hostsStephon’s wife Lisa, 50, greeted them at the door. Daughter Alona, 8, took the old man’s coat. They prayed, then they ate, listening to Mitchell share stories of picking cotton in the South long before ending up in Ohio.
“I’ll tell you what,” said Blackwell of their guest, “he could eat. He probably hadn’t eaten in two days, but I don’t know. He didn’t say.”
In the basement, they watched football, two pro games that would set up today’s Super Bowl.
“He propped his legs up,” Blackwell said. “He was chilling.”
Sandra called every half hour to update her progress as she drove north with husband Rodney and a friend. It took them the better part of six hours.
When she arrived, “I hugged her,” said Blackwell, “and, then, she bolted down the steps and it was on. It was crazy. It was ‘Daddy, daddy, daddy,’ and they were both crying and hugging.
“We had a prayer and, then, they left.”
Mitchell’s daughter is a pastor at New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Ohio, so she has had plenty of opportunity to preach about love and loss, affairs of the heart.
But this struck close to home and showed her in a personal way that “God is at work in everything” and how “He’s still working miracles today.”
I asked Blackwell what prompted him to take a stranger into his home, to feed him and entertain him and keep him warm. What made him choose D?
“I just thought,” the painter answered, “that when I saw him, I saw somebody’s father, somebody’s grandfather, standing there in the cold, standing there in the snow.”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Local Firefighter Becomes Family Hero

Travis Anders, Rives-Tompkins Firefighter: "I don't consider myself a hero at all. I'm just glad everybody's alive."
A local firefighter saves his neighbor's lives. That Jackson County family's home is gone, but they're happy to be alive. When someone passing by the Tompkins Township home spotted flames, they called 911. That's when Travis Anders got paged and rushed to the rescue.
Travis Anders: "I live just a couple houses down the road, so came here straight to the scene. When I showed up, the flames were actually coming through the roof."
The volunteer firefighter says he busted down the door.
Travis Anders: "And I was yelling, "fire department!," to see if anybody was in there."
At first no one responded. He says, that's because everyone was asleep.
Travis Anders: "They were not aware that the fire had started, so I told them to get out, so then they actually refused and didn't want to."
Anders says they didn't believe him, and actually thought someone was trying to break in. It wasn't until he convinced the family to come outside and see the flames for themselves that all four people made it out safely.
Travis Anders: "It's just what we do, no, I don't consider myself a hero at all. I'm just glad everybody's alive and OK."
Although he says he's no hero, what Anders did was heroic and may have prevented tragedy. The Red Cross is helping the family, and for now they're staying with relatives. Firefighters say the cause of that fire is not known at this time.

17-year-olds arraigned in Harper Woods break-ins

Two 17-year-old Harper Woods boys were arraigned today on attempted home invasion charges after Harper Woods police said they tried to break into a house on Kenmore.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Metro Detroit schools step up security

Maureen Feighan / The Detroit News
Locked doors. Surveillance cameras. Keyless entry systems. Two-way radios.
Sound like the county jail? Try many local school districts.
More than 10 years after the Columbine High School shootings outside Denver permanently shattered the sense of security at schools across the country, districts across Metro Detroit continue to take steps to bolster security on their campuses.
Oxford Community Schools plans to spend $1 million reconfiguring the front entrances of its seven schools so visitors are directly routed to the front office. Chippewa Valley Schools wants to install surveillance cameras at its middle and elementary schools if voters approve a bond proposal next month.
And the Berkley School District plans to rework the front entrances of its high school and elementary schools, many of which are more than 60 years old, relocating them closer to parking areas to boost security if voters approve a $168 million bond next month. District leaders say it's not that their schools or communities are unsafe, but they need to do everything they can to keep students as secure as possible.
"Security is here to stay," said Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Mark Deldin. "We have an obligation to our community to make sure we don't drop the ball on having a lax security plan. We live in a different world today."
But at least one national school safety expert said it's not enough to put surveillance cameras in schools and reconfigure entranceways. Staff training is critical and school policies on paper don't always match up to what's happening in reality, he said.
"The first and best line of defense is always a well-trained staff and student body," said Ken Trump, a Cleveland-based school security consultant who's worked in school safety for more than 25 years and performs assessments across the country.
New measures added
School-associated violent deaths among children 5-18 years old continue to be rare events across the country, according to a joint report by the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Forty-three school-associated violent deaths occurred during the 2007-2008 school year, the most recent year that data was available, down from 57 in 1992-1993, according to the report. School-associated violent deaths include homicides, suicides or any unintentional firearm-related deaths.
The study, released in December, also found that far more children are killed away from school property than on it. Nearly 1,750 students, ages 5 to 18, were killed in homicides during the 2006-2007 school year -- all but 30 of those occurred away from school.
Still, districts in Michigan have taken steps to make their schools more secure, said William Mayes, executive director of the Michigan Association of School Administrators. Schools have crisis intervention plans and districts often work closely with local police departments, he added.
"There is a great effort to make sure each and every student in the state of Michigan goes to school in a safe environment," he said.
Detroit Public Schools has some of the most extreme safety measures in place. Metal detectors and security guards are standard at district high schools. The district used to search students' clothing, backpacks and cars, but agreed to stop unless they had reasonable suspicion under a 2006 court order. The American Civil Liberties Union is now suing the district, alleging it violated that order at Mumford High School.
District officials, who couldn't be reached Thursday, have said they did increase security at Mumford because of ongoing problems there but denied they've conducted unconstitutional mass searches.
Entrances revised
And while metal detectors are less common in suburban districts, many are modifying school entrances to create "secured entryways." Parents and visitors can enter a front set of doors to get in the school's vestibule. There, they'll find a door to the front office because the doors to the actual school are locked.
Oxford decided to reconfigure its building entrances after former Fire Chief Jack LeRoy contacted the district two years ago to talk about security and a committee was formed with school administrators, police, fire and local leaders.
"As part of that, they did a walk through of all of our buildings, and we discovered our buildings were very vulnerable," said Jim Skilling, the Oxford Schools superintendent.
"In some cases, we don't even have visibility from the main office. Someone could come into our parking lot and we wouldn't know it ... We decided we needed to do something so someone would have to physically go into the office before entering the building."
Chippewa Valley Schools also has reworked its school entrances to guide visitors directly to the office, one of several new security measures over the last six years. The district also has completed the first phase of a swipe card access system at some of its schools.
And if voters approve an $89 million bond proposal next month, surveillance cameras -- roughly 600 are already in place at the district's two high schools and ninth-grade centers -- would also be installed at its four middle and 12 elementary schools.
Jerry Davisson, principal of Chippewa Valley High School, said he can't say enough about the surveillance cameras, which have been inside and outside the building since last March. He said they've cut down on bullying, vandalism, fighting, even theft.
"There's no way they're going to get away with stuff," Davisson said. "It's a deterrent more than anything."
Renee Jaczkowski of Clinton Township, the mother of fourth- and fifth-graders at Erie Elementary School, likes the new swipe card system there. And reconfiguring the school's entrance "was one of the best things that has happened to our school," she said, noting that the school is a polling place on election day and anyone could come in to vote.
"I do think you can never have too much security," said Jaczkowski, co-president of Erie's parent-teacher organization. "Is it absolutely necessary? I would hope that it wouldn't be. But in today's world, we want our kids to be safe."
Critics question extent
Still, is there such a thing as too much security? At least one school board member in Clinton Township thinks some measures go overboard, such as metal detectors.
"Obviously you want your kid to feel safe going to school," said Jason Davidson, president of the Clintondale School Board.
"(But) when you're talking about putting in metal detectors in (suburban districts), nobody wants to feel like they're going into a prison. Unfortunately things can happen anywhere. But at what point do you stop?" (586) 468-0520 From The Detroit News:

Police warn community after string of break-ins

By Kate Jacobson (Last updated: 01/31/10 9:15pm)
A string of home invasions has put Meridian Township on the lookout for suspects.
Meridian Township police Sgt. Lana Howell said more than 20 home invasions have occurred in the past four months and each were done in a similar fashion. She said apartments in the area have been robbed after the suspects climb the balcony and enter through the sliding glass doors.
There are no suspects in connection with the break-ins.
Howell said home invasions are not a common crime in the area. The high volume of home invasions occurring in a similar fashion seems suspicious.
“It’s out of the ordinary that we are having this many in the area at one particular time,” she said.
The break-in suspects filled containers full of electronic equipment and exited through the front door, giving the appearance of someone moving out of the home. A vehicle would be waiting in the parking lot, where the suspects would load the electronics, Howell said.
One of the best ways to make sure items are secure in homes is to be familiar with the area and people around you, she said.
“We would ask (that) residents get to know their neighbors, so if someone does walk out of someone’s apartment with electronic equipment, they would know whether or not that is their neighbor,” she said.
East Lansing police Capt. Kim Johnson said although home invasion is not a big problem in East Lansing, it easily can be prevented by neighborhood watch.
“(The police) try to do our share, but we need help from the community too, because they know their neighborhoods better than we do,” Johnson said.
Simple things such as keeping an outdoor light on, locking all windows and doors and knowing your neighbors can protect your property when you are away, Johnson said.
Interdisciplinary studies in social science senior Eric Hughes said he always locks up whenever he leaves his apartment.
“The management sent a letter out in October that said apartments had been getting broken into,” he said. “I always keep my door locked.”
MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said people can initiate neighborhood watch- type systems even in residence halls.
“People can do that on their floor, and they should be looking out for one another,” she said.
Comparative cultures and politics sophomore Laura Klinger said she feels safe in Case Hall, where she lives. However, every time she hears about break-ins, it makes her more conscious.
“East Lansing seems so safe,” she said. “It’s crazy and jarring when that happens because I feel like it’s not a possibility most of the time.”
_Staff writer Ellen Mitchell contributed to this report. _

Man Accused In Royal Oak Break-In

Royal Oak Woman Hides In Closet During Home Invasion
POSTED: Wednesday, January 27, 2010
UPDATED: 12:46 pm EST January 28, 2010
ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- One of six people accused of being involved in a Royal Oak home invasion earlier this week was arraigned Thursday on unarmed robbery and conspiracy charges.
Darius Lewis, 20, a college student from California, was arraigned in 44th District Court. His bond was set at $200,000.
Royal Oak police said a woman hid in a closet with her two young children early Monday morning as a group of men who allegedly followed her home from work kicked in her front door.
Royal Oak Police Lt. Gordon Young said the woman was walking home at about 3 a.m. Monday from her greeter job at the gentleman's club Cheetah's when she noticed a dark Impala following her.
When the woman approached her home on Dorchester Street, Young said she again noticed the car without its lights on.
Once inside her home, Young said the woman called 911 and woke up her two children, ages 6 and 7, and a 19-year-old baby-sitter.
“They’re coming in my house right now … they’re going to break in,” the woman can be heard telling a 911 dispatcher.
Young said while the four were hiding in closets and a bathtub, at least two men broke into the house and yelled "ATF police, get down!"
Officers from the Royal Oak Police Department arrived and questioned two people inside two cars that were parked outside the house.
During that time, the two men who had broken into the house fled, Young said.
None of the people inside the house were harmed.
A short time later, a K-9 dog found two loaded semi-automatic handguns, a 9 mm and .40-caliber, under a bush on a nearby street and police set up a perimeter of the area with undercover officers.
Young said that just after noon Monday, officers noticed a car with three black males and female driver go past the victim's house several times.
Young said officers observed a man looking around the bush where the handguns had been found and took him into custody.
Police said the handguns were determined to be stolen.
Police said the four people who were seen driving in the car were arrested, in addition to the two people they arrested outside the house.
Aside from Lewis, the other five suspects, who police said ranged in ages from 17 to 20 years old, were questioned and released. But police said they could be taken back into custody and charged.
Police said they are not sure why the victim was followed, and that she has since moved out of the house on Dorchester Street.
“This is a very serious case. There’s very few similar cases that we’ve experienced here in Royal Oak like this,” Young said.