Detroit is a city with a rich history, but the future of Detroit depends on creating a safe space where people can live, work and invest. Detroit One is a new law enforcement and community initiative designed to achieve a thriving city.
In 2012, Detroit experienced 387 homicides, more than one a day, a total that is simply intolerable.
In response, law enforcement officials met with community leaders to discuss strategies that have worked in other cities.
The result of these discussions is Detroit One, a program based on a model that has been successful in Washington, D.C., where homicide statistics have dropped from a high of 479 in the 1990s to 88 last year.
As its name suggests, Detroit One takes a unified approach to reducing violence.
One key piece of the strategy is information sharing among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
Participating agencies include the Detroit Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Corrections, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office, among others.
These agencies are sharing information about the “worst of the worst” offenders to ensure that law enforcement officers are focusing resources on the city’s most violent criminals.
Other aspects of the strategy include utilizing the Detroit Police Department’s district structure to provide community policing and community prosecution.
Teams comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement officers are assigned to each district. Regular meetings of these district teams permit officers and agents to share leads to find the area’s most dangerous trigger pullers.
Attorneys are also assigned to each police district so that they can develop relationships with the officers and become familiar with crimes occurring in particular neighborhoods.
The prosecutor provides a point of contact for the law enforcement team, and provides legal advice, search warrants and arrest warrants at any time of day or night.
But the centerpiece of the strategy is community involvement. Law enforcement cannot solve our violent crime problem alone. We need our citizens to report to police when they are victims or witnesses to crime. We must overcome the “no snitch” mentality so that we can identify individuals who commit violent crimes.
Our partners include the faith community as well as the NAACP, Youthvoice and ARISE Detroit! among others. Each of our citizens has the power to stand up, speak up and save a life.
We understand that lack of trust and fear can create obstacles to reporting crime. We hope our strategy can overcome those obstacles.
First, we are conducting outreach to build community trust. If people believe that the criminal justice system is fair, they will be more likely to cooperate with law enforcement.
Second, we seek to protect the safety of citizens who report crimes to police. We have limited funds to pay for travel, housing and security systems to protect witnesses and victims.
Third, we are partnering with Crime Stoppers to offer rewards for tips in certain serious cases. We also rely on our community partners can help us vocalize the outrage we all feel when violence occurs.
We all need to stand up to crime to make a difference.
No strategy will ever end all violence, but we in law enforcement are determined to do all we can to reduce violence in Detroit. If we can create the safe neighborhoods that we all desire, then the next chapter of Detroit’s history can be a story of success.
“No strategy will ever end all violence, but we in law enforcement are determined to do all we can to reduce violence in Detroit. If we can create the safe neighborhoods that we all desire, then the next chapter of Detroit’s history can be a story of success.”