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Michigan City council concerned about crime

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MICHIGAN CITY — City Council President Angie Deuitch promised actions to address crime in coming months.

“We’re going to make some hard decisions,” she promised, to address an uptick in crime.

“We don’t want you here if you’re going to commit crimes,” Deuitch, D-At-large, said. “Neighborhoods are suffering. Businesses will leave” if crime isn’t reduced. “We need to throw everything at it.”

The council is considering the installation of license-plate readers at major entrances to the city. “Once they see these cameras, maybe they’ll stay out,” she said.

Deuitch also stressed the need to prosecute suspected criminals to the fullest extent.

Councilman Paul Przybylinski, D-2nd, expressed his fears about the situation at Mikropor America, which was the scene of a major fire last weekend.

Mikropor manufactures “very high-tech” air filtration equipment and pays “a very good wage,” Przybylinski said. He’s worried that Mikropor might consider leaving Michigan City.

The fire, which Deputy Fire Chief Michael Jasnieski called “the largest fire we’ve seen in 20, 30 years,” was just the latest in a string of incidents at the plant.

Less than three weeks ago, the plant saw about $350,000 worth of goods destroyed during a break-in, Przybylinski said. “The site manager had to raise holy Cain to get the police department to go out there and assign a detective,” he said.

Przybylinski said he met with Mayor Duane Parry between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Parry said he would set up a meeting with Police Chief Dion Campbell after the first of the year. That meeting hasn’t happened yet, Przybylinski said.

“We have a real issue out there in the community with violent crime,” he said. “I’m fed up.”

Przybylinski said when one of his cars was stolen, his brother had to beg to get police to look at a neighbor’s surveillance-camera footage. By the time police did so a week later, the video was already erased.

“I’m just totally beside myself,” he said.

Przybylinski criticized the mayor for walking out of the council meeting when it was time for public comments.

Resident Marco Oddo expressed disgust with enforcement issues. “When I first bought this house, it was a derelict,” he said. Oddo fixed it up.

Last November, there was a break-in at his property. “Not only was he trespassing, not only was he breaking and entering, but he also had grand theft auto on this thing” for removing a car from the garage, Oddo said.

Police are still looking for the person. 

Oddo also expressed concerns about code enforcement. He’s a general contractor, he said, but no longer able to do his own plumbing work on his own property.

Resident Ernie Hollihan complained about trash strewn throughout the city. “Do we not have a vector control anymore?”

Resident Tommy Kulavik urged enforcement of the graffiti ordinance, saying rail cars outside Michigan City Generating Station have been tagged by two street gangs.

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