“Bankrupt and crime ridden.” That’s a how a Detroit native referred to his hometown when I met him at a Cleveland Browns game last year. It’s hard to believe that at one time (1960), Detroit had the highest per-capita income of any city in the United States. But that was a long time ago, folks. Things have changed for the worse. People are fleeing the city in droves. In the last 14 years over 200,000 people have packed up and moved out. Yet, the crime rate has continued to climb.
The Democratic Party has ruled Detroit for the last 51 years and counting, and the city arguably has the toughest gun laws in the country. That’s none other than a liberal paradise. So shouldn’t the city be prospering while crime rates bottom out, unemployment rates plummet, and the low income pull themselves out of poverty with the strong hand of progressive policies? Nope. Not even close. As a matter of fact, they routinely have the highest unemployment rate of any city in the United States and the highest murder rate of any major city at 54.6 homicides per 100,000 people. That’s 10 times the national average. The murder rate in 2013 was the same as it was in 2000, but with 200,000 less people. There are about 78,000 abandoned homes within the city. One-third of the city’s 143 square miles is derelict. Sixty percent of all children within the city are living in poverty. In 2013, 43% of babies born in Detroit were to single mothers. Fifty percent of all children born were to parents on welfare. The average police response time was 58 minutes and only 1 out of 3 of the city’s ambulances are in working condition. Oh, by the way, they also filed for bankruptcy for being $20 billion in debt. If my calculations aren’t too terribly off, that should equal about $25,000 per person. Like I said, a progressive paradise.
So how do we clean up Detroit? It needs a new leader and its citizens need to take action. Cue Police Chief James Craig. Craig, a native of Detroit started his career in his beloved city in 1977 before transferring to Los Angeles in 1981. There, he worked his way up to a high ranking Captain position all the while cleaning up the streets. In 2009, he became Police Chief of Portland, Maine where he successfully reduced crime rate by 10% during his two year stay. In 2011, he took the job as Police Chief of Cincinnati, Ohio and was the first African American to hold that position. After a two year stay, he finally came back home to Detroit to take the job as its new Police Chief. Although, it wasn’t the same city he left 33 years earlier.
Craig brought what he had learned over a lifetime as a police officer back to his beloved city. What he admittedly realized, was that the cities with the highest crime rates were also the cities with the strictest gun laws. His faith that guns help was cemented while in Maine, which has the highest rate of people permitted to carry concealed guns but also boasts one of the lowest crime rates. So what did Craig do when he became Police Chief of Detroit? In January, he told his good citizens to start packing heat: get a firearm and protect themselves. That’s when I started following this story. Criminals don’t like it when their potential victims have guns and fight back. It’s simple logic. Since I’m of sound mind, I knew what was going to happen before the ink ever dried on the papers. The crime rate was going to drop. And that’s exactly what happened. Compared to stats from this time last year, overall crime rate is down 20%. Homicides are down 13%. Robbery/home invasion is down 39%. Carjackings are down 29% and non-fatal shootings are down 14%.
So what did Police Chief Craig have to say about this? During a news conference Craig said, “Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “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 because citizens could be armed.” However, Craig also made a statement to the NRA citing, “This is not about inciting vigilantism, because in my view when you talk about vigilantism, you’re talking about someone who has made a decision to do law enforcement’s job — go out and enforce the law. This is not that at all. This is about self-defense, protection, an imminent threat to life, very different response,” When the NRA questioned Craig about possibly holding a convention in his city, Craig stated that he was not a member and never has been. However, Craig did say that he would welcome a convention as it would bring revenue to the city.
Detroit still has its problems. It’s going to take more than a good Sheriff and armed civilians to quell them all. But it’s a start. The average police response time has dropped considerably while concealed carry permits are on the rise. Crime rate is down and the citizens are starting to feel safer. It’s important for the city to build on this momentum. Will crime rates continue to fall or is this just a flash in the pan? The nation’s eyes are on Detroit. But if you’re a criminal in The Motor City, the good citizens and their new sheriff have their eyes on you as well. Right behind the cross-hairs.