Criminal Justice

Armed citizenry helped cut crime in Detroit, police chief says; recent shooting goes awry

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says robberies, break-ins and carjackings have dropped in the city, and armed citizens may be part of the reason.

Craig revealed the numbers in an interview with the Detroit News. Robberies in 2014 dropped 37 percent compared to the same period last year, break-ins of businesses and homes dropped 22 percent, and carjackings dropped 30 percent.

“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” Craig told the Detroit News. “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.”

Homeowners fired guns to defend themselves in “a flurry of such shootings” earlier this year, the story says. In the latest incident, an 88-year-old man fired a gun when a news crew came to his door days after he was beaten and robbed at his home. No one was struck by the bullet.

Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt said the homeowner may have thought the reporter was the woman who tricked him into opening his door last Thursday by requesting help. In that incident, two men who rushed into the house then beat the homeowner and robbed him.

“I think he was traumatized; he got beat up pretty good,” Dolunt told the Detroit News. The homeowner was taken into custody for a psychological examination.

A report by WXYZ says its reporter, a male, knocked on the homeowner’s door and was leaving when the homeowner fired.

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