Pontiac community, Oakland County Sheriff work to lower number of homicides -- What we know

There have been 10 homicides in the city in the first half of 2022

There's been a push to rebuild the City of Pontiac for years, and they're making great economic strides. But there have been 10 homicides in the city in the first half of 2022. And those living there want to see that number drop. A joint effort between the Oakland County Sheriff's Department and community leaders has helped solve most of those crimes.

PONTIAC, Mich. – There’s been a push to rebuild the City of Pontiac for years, and they’re making great economic strides. But there have been 10 homicides in the city in the first half of 2022.

Those living in Pontiac want to see that number drop.

A joint effort between Oakland County Sheriff’s Department and community leaders has helped solve most of those crimes, but there’s now a push to stop them before they even happen.

“It does make us angry, makes us frustrated even to hear that Pontiac is in that map of cases, but we’re trying to change the rhetoric,” said Kevin Sanders, Communication Advisor and Coordinator for Pontiac Universal Crimes (PUC).

PUC is an organization that brings awareness to local crimes and crime prevention.

“It hurts me to have to post the balloon release flyers and to put the announcements on there,” Sanders said. “But as heavy as it is, that heaviness should bring awareness that people should get so tired of hearing these stories, watching these reports of murders that it will stir up enough frustration that people get out and say ‘what can we do to bring a change?’”

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the department had taken a closer look at the homicides in Pontiac.

“It’s not the average person in Pontiac that is being targeted just coming and going to work or school or a business,” said Bouchard. “It’s very specific, bad drug deal or somebody that has animosity. So those are harder to get in front of because they’re personal.”

Bouchard said eight out of 10 of the 2022 homicides in Pontiac were solved; He hopes that’s a deterrent for the second half of the year.

“We’re going to catch you if you do it, and we’re going to hold you accountable,” Bouchard said. “It doesn’t bring our victims back, but it does send a message.”

This year, a new task force was formed with faith and city leaders, leaders from PUC, and the sheriff.

Saturday, July 30, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., PUC is hosting a Love and Peace event at Aaron Perry Park near Edison Street and Marquette Street.

The event will feature speakers, community resources, entertainment, and show support to families of those killed.

“As the numbers are rising, the awareness is rising, and the solutions are rising,” Sanders said. “This is not going to be an overnight thing. But as we come together and have these conversations, we believe the numbers will come down eventually.”

The two unsolved homicides are from an arson case in January.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.


About the Authors:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.