When appointed, Detroit Police Chief James Craig placed violence reduction at the top of his list of priorities. Since then, he has repeatedly said he can’t do it by himself –he needs help from the community. He’s right of course.

But does he mean the community must blow the whistle on the sons and daughters who are engaged in the lawlessness? Or must Detroiters take steps to interrupt the criminal breeding process by which they  recklessly sow the seeds of their own destruction?

This much we know: When it comes to crime and violence, Detroit is in a class by itself. The city is second to none in young men murdering each other.

30623011-jesus-christ-in-blue-sky-with-clouds-bright-light-from-heaven-heaven-and-hellThere’s also ample evidence that Detroit has waged a less than noble war against the dangerous dance of violence. Officials claim crime is on the decline, but obviously not enough to prevent Detroit from being America’s most dangerous city with populations of more than 100,000. So some skepticism is in order.

The police department, for example, uses data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The UCR is based on “reported” crimes submitted to centralized state agencies by local police departments. It does not cover all possible criminal events.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) compiles a more respected barometer of criminal activity. The NCVS measures crimes not reported to police as well as those that are reported. By some estimates, less than 40 percent of all crimes are reported to law enforcement agencies, including nearly half of all violent crimes.

There’s another reason to be suspect of figures released by the department. Taking into account Detroit’s precipitous population decline, crime rates may actually be on the rise.

Probably the best measure of the lack of progress in the fight against crime is the attitudes of the Detroiters themselves. Public opinion polls rate crime as the No. 1 problem. This suggests residents aren’t convinced the city is safer.

A case can also be made that the pervasive crime wave that continues to erupt and surge throughout Detroit is less about the shortcomings of the police department than about a collapse of the social structures that once made communities safe and livable. Now impotent, the basic institutions that traditionally provided the morals and values for young people — –family, churches and schools — have been depleted.

Stable neighborhoods rely on parents to set the first example for good behavior, honesty and character. Given the enormity of Detroit’s “absent father, single mother syndrome,” it is not surprising there is so much violence. Many families are too dysfunctional and vulnerable to be a positive influence on their children.

The church community is disengaged from the predators. Schools are barely able to teach the ABCs. Proof of the bankrupt strategy of politicians is the high number of uneducated and aimless young black men who end up on a collision course with the same cops hired to protect crime-ridden streets. So-called community leaders seek a government solution.

2422789-god-making-a-pact-with-the-devil-shaking-handsArresting this moral deterioration will be a formidable task. Flooding neighborhoods with more cops would be futile. Community policing will prove to be a lot of expensive social work, insufficient to cope with the hellish carnage occurring outside the view or reach of beat cops.

There’s little that cops in particular, and the justice system at-large, can do. The responsibility of government is basically limited to the punishment end of the dilemma. The problem is at the front-end.

Unless and until a way is found to interrupt the process in which homegrown criminals are perversely bred to prey on their neighbors, there will be no renewals in morality or respect for life. The chaos will continue to tear at the soul of the city and guarantee that Detroit’s defining legacy will never again resemble neighborhood peace.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting article, but very powerful in your words. Welcome to Hell is that right. Detroit Police Chief James Craig is right he cannot do this by himself. Yes, he needs the entire community and families to help try and solve violence in our city and communities. Now are we going to get the single moms and dads to step up and turn their child into the police for committing crime; maybe not simply because they are bringing home the bacon and they see no other alternative. These parents only know what they know. I agree with you 100% when you stated: Unless and until a way is found to interrupt the process in which homegrown criminals are perversely bred to prey on their neighbors, there will be no renewals in morality or respect for life. The chaos will continue to tear at the soul of the city and guarantee that Detroit’s defining legacy will never again resemble neighborhood peace.
    The data, survey, schools, government and politicians need to step aside and let the parents discipline their own children like they use to many, many years ago. The only responsibility the children, young adults should have today is focusing on education and productive taxpayers to this country. Make a difference in the city in which you reside.

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