When Detroit homicide detectives investigated the beating and strangulation of five family members recently, they were shadowed by a camera crew from the cable channel A&E. The Detroit Free Press says that A&E staffers has been showing up at murder scenes across the city for weeks, as Detroit’s homicides have surged compared with last year. A&E got permission to film in Detroit after 2003 when the city recorded its lowest homicide total in decades. When the crew arrived in February, the city was in the midst of a killing spree. There have been 110 homicides this year compared with 75 last year.
Detroit police hope the documentary will show off its detectives. “In the end I believe our homicide detectives will be shown as the true professionals they are,” said Tara Dunlop, 3rd Deputy Chief for the Office of Public Information.
A&E plans to include Detroit in a new show called “The First 48,” which will document the first 48 hours of a homicide investigation. The show will begin with the crime and end with the arrest of a suspect. A&E also is filming in Phoenix, Miami, Kansas City, Mo., and Philadelphia. The series will premiere June 3.
The Free Press says an obvious concern is whether the show will perpetuate the Murder City stigma that began when Detroit had years with many more murders, including a high of 714 in 1974.