Detroit – The heads of the city’s two largest law enforcement agencies announced Friday they would work together to try to curb the violence, drag races and other issues that have surfaced over the past few summers .
Among the announced efforts: the fourth year since 2018 of additional summer patrols in Greektown, the downtown enclave that has been the scene of multiple problems dating back more than a decade.
Detroit Police Chief James White and Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington announced the partnership at a press conference in Greektown. Police and sheriff’s deputies plan to enforce city ordinances that cover drag racing, curfews for minors and parental responsibility for minors.
“What we’re doing is a proactive approach,” White said. “If you’re carrying an illegal firearm…or allowing your kid out at night, that’s a problem.”
White said “too many underage children are allowed to roam around Greektown after the curfew, which for 16 and 17-year-olds runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day except Saturday, when the curfew is from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. For children 15 and under, the city curfew is 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“It’s become the new mall,” White said of Greektown. “Kids used to go to the malls to hang out; this is the new place for the youngsters – and that’s okay… get down and have a good time, but leave your illegal guns at home.”
Last weekend, five victims were shot in the city center, three of whom were injured in a shooting. A Detroit police officer shot one of the men involved in the shooting. Michigan State Police are investigating the incident.
White said casings from seven different firearms were recovered from the scene. Five firearms were recovered, he said.
In the other shooting, two “innocent bystanders” were injured, White said.
None of the five victims’ injuries were life-threatening, he said.
White said the volume of people visiting Greektown and other downtown sites on the weekends is a “good problem to have.”
“There’s a lot to do, and it’s a crossroads of people,” White said. “That’s what we want…but people have the right to have fun without having to worry about violent crime.”
Last year, the additional patrols in Greektown and other areas of the city were announced four days after the publication of a video on social networks which showed officers breaking up a series of fights near Monroe and Beaubien.
This followed additional police patrols in 2018 and 2019 in response to high-profile shootings and fights. In 2020, police said the additional patrols were not necessary as most businesses were under COVID-19 restrictions and were not fully operational.
Also at Friday’s press conference, White and Washington showed off portable metal detectors that they say will be deployed in Greektown and throughout the city.
“These can be taken to neighborhoods, like block parties, where things sometimes go wrong,” Washington said. “It will help citizens feel safe.”