The One Detroit Partnership — a coalition consisting of the Detroit Police Department, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, DEA, ATF and a host of community groups — announced a new plan for reducing violent crime in the city.
However, parts of the plan sound very similar to last year’s summer policing strategy, called Project Safe Neighborhoods, that was led by Dawn Ison, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy claims this year’s initiative is vastly different from Project Safe Neighborhoods.
“I didn’t want to be a part of another task force. Task force is a name only that don’t do anything — but this is different. This is extremely different,” says Worthy.
The plan for this summer is to target specific, high-crime areas of Detroit’s 8th and 9th precincts in collaboration with several federal agencies.
Much like in 2022.
One key difference this year is that those charged with carjacking, various gun crimes and drug trafficking will immediately be subject to federal prosecution and the higher mandatory sentences that come with a conviction.
When asked by WDET if the threat of a longer sentence would be a deterrent to someone attempting to commit a crime, Ison replied: “If you are a felon in possession in the federal system, you could potentially get 25 years.”
Billboards explaining the program will be put up in parts of Detroit as a warning to potential criminals, but it’s not the only way officials are getting out the word about summer enforcement strategies.
“We already sent out 200 letters to people on probation — state probation, state parole and federal supervised release — and we have warned them about what we’re doing,” Ison shared. “But in addition to that, we’ve told them come to these ‘peacenics’ so that you can take advantage of these resources.”
“Peacenics” are cookouts put on by the city in the 8th and 9th precincts to allow residents to interact with law enforcement, educational and vocational opportunities, criminal record expungement info, and medical screenings. This year’s “peacenics” will take place July 8 at O’Hair Park and July 15 at Heilmann Park, both taking place from 3-7 p.m.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says these strategies are part of a two-pronged approach.
“One is that if you’re committing gun crimes in this area, you’re going to have the full force of federal law enforcement,” Duggan says. “But the second is what U.S. Attorney Ison has done with the ‘peacenics’ in creating activities to show we care about the quality of life. We don’t want to lock anybody up.”
Detroit Police Chief James White believes a more targeted approach is the correct strategy.
“When we collaborate, and we talk about what’s needed for our community…federal partnership is a key component to what we do,” White says. “You know, this is not something we just started. This is a more precision approach. This is a more directed approach to particular areas of our city that needs help.”
Ison hopes the community outreach proves effective at reducing crime in Detroit so her duties as a U.S. Attorney won’t be needed.
“Every kid at risk that we show them a different way of life to make a different choice makes our community better,” Ison says. “So prevention is also public safety.”