The Detroit Police Department's Mobile Strike Force is stepping up efforts to head off crime in the city's hot spots, reports the Detroit Free Press. Their targets are simple: guns and drugs. Their methods of finding them – stopping jaywalkers and questioning loiterers – are spurring criticism from some who say police are manufacturing reasons to profile young, black men and violating their rights.
In a city where an average of three people are shot every day, Chief Warren Evans said the only way to combat guns is to get the illegal ones off the street. If that means stopping people breaking minor laws, he said, so be it. By early May, the strike force had confiscated nearly 1,500 firearms in 2010. Evans credits that and increased street patrols with 99 fewer nonfatal shootings and 40 fewer homicides this year as of Tuesday. Yet the gains can become lost amid a spate of gunfire deaths. Among the victims: a 17-year-old killed for giving a man a dirty look, a grandmother hit by an errant bullet, and a 15-year-old honor student shot in a drive-by.