Detroit police chief attributes armed citizens with drop in crime
The strength of the Detroit Police Department is only a fraction of what it was a decade ago, and high crime rates remain a very real problem in the Motor City. Nevertheless, Police Chief James Craig now says that would-be lawbreakers are becoming increasingly hesitant to commit crimes, and a well-armed citizenry is what he thinks is responsible.
On Thursday this week, the Detroit News reported that robberies in the first half of 2014 are down 37 percent compared to statistics from the same time last year, and homes and businesses have experienced 22 percent fewer break ins.
According to the paper’s George Hunter, “Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.”
Craig made headlines earlier in 2014 when he advocated for private, responsible gun ownership, and that stance earned him a spot in a recent edition of the National Rifle Associations’ “America’s First Freedom” magazine.
“And so, of late as you know, there've been a number of incidents involving armed citizens responding to an immediate threat to their life or what they believe to be a threat to the life of someone else," Craig told the magazine ahead its publication back in May. "What I have said, and continue to say, is I believe responsible, good Americans have a right to protect themselves from an immediate threat to their life or to the life of another."
Now as statistics are starting to show a decrease in crime numbers, Craig is against citing the gun-toting people of Detroit as the likely explanation.
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are
armed and will use that weapon,” Craig told Hunter. “I
don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are
doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in
particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens
could be armed.
“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” added the police chief.
Hunter’s report this week recalls that, only days earlier, an 88-year-old man opened fire at local news reporters who were investigating a recent break-in at his house. Steve Dolunt, the assistant chief of the DPD, told the paper that the unnamed man was likely traumatized after suffering an exhaustive beating only a few days earlier.
According to Hunter, that event marks only the first time since May 4 that a homeowner was driven to defending themselves with a firearm, although a flurry of similar incidents unfolded earlier this year.
To Craig, the paper reported, this means criminals are thinking twice about victimizing the innocent.
“They automatically assume another criminal is carrying,” he said. “I’m talking about criminals who are thinking of robbing a citizen; they’re less likely to do so if they think they might be armed.”