Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Woeful Detroit Police Dept. Statistics Have A New Scapegoat: Unreported Gun Shots

Another quarter has closed in this current calendar year. As such, the Detroit Police Department (DPD) reported its latest crime statistics as required by the current City Charter. Relative to the last quarterly report, nothing much has changed in the level of violent crime reported here except the scapegoat.

Last quarter, the theme of the meeting was that violent crime trended downwards all across the board, except for shootings and homicides. Most of the blame for the spike in homicide statistics was attributed at that time to risky behaviors of the victims.

Apparently, DPD credited the spike in homicides after analyzing its numbers to an appreciable number of murdered folks in the city who had felony convictions. For good measure they tossed in some anecdotal commentary about "retaliation-related" shootings and floated a justification that they felt would be accepted by the residents.

Furthermore, DPD also blamed false home alarms as another reason why they couldn't get a handle on our violent crime problem. They told the community that 97 percent of all home alarm runs were false and caused a drain on their resources.

I'm not so naive to believe that DPD sent officers in a timely fashion to an estimated 60,000 house alarm calls last year, but if they claim that ending their practice of responding to unverified calls will cause a drop in our crime statistics numbers I'd support them.

In response to the Second Quarter Statistic Report, DPD assured residents that they had a number of initiatives underway to fight violent crime in the city of Detroit. Among the tasks they announced either at the Second Quarter Crime Meeting or in the time since that meeting were the following:

  • Deploying officers from desk duty to street patrols
  • Requiring patrol officers to work longer shifts
  • Ending responses to unverified house alarms
  • Publicizing anonymous crime reporting hotline

Last night's Third Quarter Crime Townhall revealed the following statistics about violent crime in Detroit:

As of Sunday, 301 homicides were recorded this year versus 252 last year. Nothing done thus far has slowed down our murder rate - not even two gun buy-backs cosponsored by DPD in the past year or so.

As of October 30th,
  • 845 rapes were recorded this year (901 last year)
  • 26,557 assaults were recorded this year (23,787 last year)
  • 14,457 burglaries were recorded this year (16,204 last year)

The statistics prove that our crime numbers - except homicides - are "better" than last year's data. However, the current numbers are definitely not something to crow and brag about to the community.

According to the aforementioned numbers compiled for 273 days of this year, every single day within the boundaries of Detroit there will be 1 murder, 3 rapes, 53 burglaries, and 97 assaults.

Violent crime is still present here at an unacceptable level. In fact, a month ago Forbes Magazine crunched national crime statistics and crowned us as the "Most Violent City In America."

Against the backdrop of our woeful crime statistics, DPD is lobbying hard for the Detroit City Council to approve $2.6 million for a gunshot detection system. They say it will give them almost real-time reporting of gunfire within the monitored area. It appears that DPD feels that if it could just get all reports of shootings, they could solve our homicide problem.

I hate to be the one to douse their hopes but exactly how will getting all of the data translate into faster response times? I argue that the reason that DPD doesn't currently get all of the gunshot data - via calls from citizens - is their poor response time. Why call if they aren't going to come?

Furthermore, if getting all of the data about gunfire was important, why don't we have enough 9-1-1 operators working to keep citizens from getting busy signals when they call for assistance? Why not spend the money on restoring cuts to the phone system? Why not hire more police officers?

As you can see, I think that this proposed system is just another case of "let's just do something to show the citizens that we are trying to solve the problem." It's the same mindset in play when another gun buy-back is conducted. Off the shelf solutions such as this proposed system doesn't address the underlying issue - a lack of adequate number of police officers to enforce the law in this town.

I predict that if this solution is deployed and that if this solution works as advertised, no positive result will be achieved other than a few press releases will be issued that will cause the media to appear and write an upbeat story about how the new system makes DPD a 21rst century crime-fighting organization. The real issue, if public safety is truly the goal, is what can we do with the money that will make a measurable difference?

In stark contrast to DPD's approach to solving violent crime, last week a South Carolina Spartanburg County Sheriff told citizens there to buy handguns in response to a sexual assault that recently occurred in his community.

Wouldn't it be great if the political leadership in Detroit had the guts to take a similar position? I think so, but don't hold your breath. The very last thing they want is for citizens to take an active role in their own personal protection. Their silence is especially curious when you consider the fact that a clear majority of Detroit's City Council has concealed pistol licenses.

It is politically safer for the city's leadership to find a convenient scapegoat every quarter to explain why the murders don't stop. If it's not "alternative lifestyle decisions" and false house alarms last quarter, then the excuse morphs into a lack of gunshot reporting data this quarter.

I tell you one thing though, our local leaders continue amaze me with the creative and new reasons they give for the way things are in Detroit. If you desire to be safe in Detroit, you'd be wise to buy a handgun and to get a concealed carry permit - just like city council.

Pay no mind to what politicians say - watch what they do.

About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, NRAnews, Gun Digest, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, WJLB, WGPR and the UrbanShooterPodcast.

For more info about Detroit Michigan CPL Classes, please contact:

Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Contact: Rick Ector
Web: http://www.detroitccw.com
Email: info@detroitccw.com
Phone: 313.733.7404
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