As Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick launches a major effort to improve the city’s neighborhoods, street violence continues to flare, reports the Detroit Free Press. In one 24-hour period earlier this week, seven people were shot — five fatally — in three incidents. The shootings brought the homicide total to 408, a 14 percent increase over last year. Nonfatal shootings are up as much as 10 percent.
The violence comes despite efforts like Operation TIDE — Tactical Intelligence Driven Enforcement — which began May 5. Ten federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies work to analyze crime patterns and arrest Detroit’s worst criminals. There’s also the Joshua Project, which places state prosecutors in two precincts in an effort to stop gun violence. City officials and police pointed to the drug trade as a leading impetus for the increase in street violence. A part of Kilpatrick’s Next Detroit Neighborhood Initiative will involve stepped-up police patrols to stop drug dealers. “If they’re so comfortable that they feel they can just go at one another, we have to disrupt the business altogether,” said Kilpatrick aide Matt Allen. Police nationwide need a greater commitment from the federal government for funding, he said. It also is crucial to lower the dropout and unemployment rates, which are disproportionately high in Detroit, to reduce crime.