Night walks planned to help deter crime in Detroit - New York News

Night walks planned to help deter crime in Detroit

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Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee speaks at a press conference about the night walks initative.  (CREDIT: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee speaks at a press conference about the night walks initative. (CREDIT: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Detroit's recent pattern of violence is now forcing members of the clergy into the streets.   They'll soon be working with police to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement.

"It appears that everybody is running around in Detroit killing each other, but, in fact, what we know is that it's a small number of people who are responsible for the violence and ruining it for the rest of us," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

Now there are new efforts to call them out.  In a news conference Wednesday, McQuade and Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee stood in support of city's most prominent clergy to launch Detroit Night Walks, a weekly show of force in city's most dangerous neighborhoods to deter crime.

"What we want to do is be present, walking around showing people, hey, you know what, we care.  We want to talk to you.  A lot of times we're just going to walk and maybe say nothing to anyone for the first several weeks, and then someone might say, hey, what are you guys doing here?  And we'll say we're just walking around and we want to be a help to you," said Pastor Cory Chavis of Victory Church.

Night walks have been effective in other big cities like Chicago or Boston where crime dropped and eyebrow raising 61-percent from 1990 to 1996.

According to the FBI, Detroit has 468 crimes per square mile.  The national average is just 39.

Detroit night walks will be interventions at the grass roots level.   Volunteers will go through formalized training.

"I was listening to my music, and a guy came up with a gun and said run your pockets.   So, that was my first time ever being robbed, and I didn't know what to do," said Quinton McKinnon.

The student from Cody High School's youth program says Detroit needs this new initiative.

Chief Godbee says prayer and a little compassion might be what these young criminals need, too.

"As he was crying and I rubbed his head, I said, 'Son, I love you, and you probably have never heard this from a police officer in your life.'"

For more information on the night walks, contact the Harriet Tubman Center.

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