Whether they’re organizing neighborhood watch groups, hiring security guards, or arming themselves, many Detroiters are fed up with crime and are taking matters into their own hands, reports the Detroit News. “We’re just trying to preserve our community, rather than just complaining about the crime problem,” said Pamela Malone, whose neighborhood association hired a private firm to watch the neighborhood two years ago. “We realize the city is strapped, so we’re dealing with reality – if there aren’t enough police officers, what can we do to protect our property and quality of life?”
Attorney Gerald Evelyn said citizens often feel the need to take action because there aren’t enough police to respond to emergencies quickly. The average response time for dangerous runs in Detroit is 24 minutes from the time a 911 call is received, according to statistics released in April. Nationwide statistics are not available, but Atlanta police have an 11-minute average response time and in Washington, D.C., police respond in an average of eight minutes. Raphael Johnson, a community activist who has organized patrols in several Detroit neighborhoods, said, “No one is going to come and save us, so we have to help ourselves.” The frustration with crime isn’t just a Detroit phenomenon, said David Benelli, a retired New Orleans police lieutenant and member of the victims rights organization Crimefighters. “People feel like the perpetrators have more rights than victims,” Benelli said. “If you have a person who commits a crime, and both the perp and victim are injured, the perp gets all his medical expenses taken care of, whereas the victims have to fend for themselves.