FORCE Detroit working to empower young people through city’s ShotStoppers program

The organization — one of six selected to take part in the city’s ShotStoppers program — works to reduce violence in Detroit’s Warrendale and Franklin Park neighborhoods by engaging with community members.

Todd “Wolf” Douglas (left) and Terence “C-Mo” Hampton at WDET Studios in April 2024. Douglas and Hampton are both "violence interrupters" with FORCE Detroit.

Todd “Wolf” Douglas (left) and Terence “C-Mo” Hampton at WDET Studios in April 2024. Douglas and Hampton are both "violence interrupters" with FORCE Detroit.

A Detroit community organization claims it’s helped eliminate about three-quarters of the shootings in one of the most violent areas of the city – in less than one year. 

FORCE Detroit — which stands for Faithfully Organizing Resources for Community Empowerment – works in the Warrendale and Franklin Park neighborhoods near Dearborn and Dearborn Heights. 

The group’s efforts are part of the city of Detroit’s $10 million ShotStoppers initiative, underway in about a half-dozen Detroit neighborhoods. Not to be confused with the ShotSpotters program — which utilizes acoustic gunshot detection technology to identify gunfire — members of ShotStoppers work within their neighborhoods to talk potential shooters out of committing violence. 

Terence “C-Mo” Hampton and Todd “Wolf” Douglas are both “violence interrupters” with FORCE Detroit. Hampton says their word carries weight in their community because they grew up there.  

“To go from being in a position where you once were the problem in the neighborhood, now you are the solution, that’s what we strive at,” Hampton said. “That’s why we focus on community engagement so much, because we know everything about the wrongdoings. Now we on the flip side of the right-doings….They respect us, and that’s why they follow our lead.”

Hampton says that quite often, a lack of support or attention at home can be at the root of the problem leading young people down violent paths, which is something ShotStoppers aims to help resolve.

“A lot of youth that’s in the community, they missing love, they lack that because you know, they might not have a father at home, they might not have a father figure,” Hampton said. “So when we come in, and they say: ‘Hey, damn, somebody really love me. It makes them able to look at you and be like, ‘OK, I might need to listen to this guy.'”

Douglas says these days social media activity can be a major indicator of violence to come in the community, as that is often where conflicts start.

“That’s where everything starts now,” Douglas said. “If we see a young guy who is the aggressor, or even if they are passive aggressive, right, and they just responded to things, if we see him upload guns or uploading [problematic] songs, we just you know…give him a call, ‘Hey, you need to take that down. You know, think about this.'”

Hampton added that mediation is key to diffusing these types of incidents; to get both sides to pause and think about the repercussions of whatever actions they might take.

Funding for the ShotStoppers program comes from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act. Each of the six participating organizations receive a quarterly base budget of $175,000 to implement their prevention strategy, according to the city.

They groups can also earn additional funding based on their results, however, Hampton says more funding is needed.

“I wish there was more funders out there that could back us up, because this is intentional work. It’s brain-racking sometimes but it has to be done because being a member of the community, we have to take care of our own community,” Hampton said.

WDET’s Jenny Sherman contributed to this report.

Use the media player above to hear the full interview with Terence “C-Mo” Hampton and Todd “Wolf” Douglas of FORCE Detroit.

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  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.