Detroit mayoral candidate Anthony Adams explains crime intervention plan
Detroit mayoral candidate Anthony Adams on Friday touted a crime-fighting strategy designed to support community intervention to curb violence and hopelessness.
Adams reviewed his crime plan in front of an audience of about a dozen residents and supporters in the parking lot of a gas station in the east of the city.
“We are dealing with issues of hopelessness in our church,” said Adams. “Until we begin to understand that we cannot deal with crime without addressing the underlying problems of poverty, we will continually find ourselves in a cycle of high crime, high poverty, and high hopelessness.”
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Adams of the PB station on the corner of Interstate 75 and Seven Mile said the freeways in Detroit are “dangerous” and the city needs a broad strategy rather than silos to fight crime. The Detroit Mayor’s administration Mike Duggan said “has no idea.”
“We can no longer accept the nonchalant, benevolent neglect of crime in the city of Detroit,” said Adams, an attorney and former deputy mayor under the Kwame Kilpatrick administration, who announced in January his intention to challenge Duggan in this year’s race.
Adams said if elected he would hire more than 100 community intervention specialists trained in conflict resolution, gang intervention, and relationship building with youth. He indicated that the proposed program could be facilitated through partnerships with multiple organizations that have millions in private donations and federal grants to provide the services.
Separately, he noted that more resources need to be dedicated to the training and mental health of police officers. Adams also called for federal intervention to get illegal weapons from the community.
Detroit police chief James Craig said Friday that Adams had “not addressed anything we haven’t done”.
Craig said the department had been doing a long interventional job. There is a new initiative to help officials respond to people who have mental illness or are in crisis.
“He didn’t find any new ideas or anything in his statement that would have a significant impact on reducing crime,” said Craig. “There is nothing substantial in what he said.”
Craig referred to programs to assist former delinquents and youth in the city, as well as Operation Ceasefire, an initiative to curb gang violence that connects those who may commit crimes with mentors and social services. It’s been around for years, he said, and it works.
The department also hopes to receive a $ 1 million increase in funding this year to expand mental health efforts. In his budget presentation to the Detroit Council earlier this month, Duggan proposed the allocation to expand a collaboration with the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network to help police officers respond to residents with mental illness. It’s a program that Craig said Adams “obviously had no knowledge of”.
“The fact is we did it and we did it very effectively,” he said.
Duggan has made removing barriers the focus of a third term. He has touted the People Plan, which aims to build on his efforts to help Detroiters earn high school diplomas, craftsman training, and door-to-door assistance programs.
Duggan also launched the Detroit Community Health Corps in June to send door-to-door community health workers and peer counselors to help impoverished residents with housing, jobs, and maintaining electricity and water bills.
Crime had increased in Detroit in 2020, and Duggan and Craig attributed the increase in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of criminal murders in the city increased 19% year over year in 2020. According to Detroit police statistics, the city recorded 327 murders in 2020 and 274 murders in 2019.
The number of non-fatal shootings in Detroit rose even more dramatically last year, with 1,173 shootings, up 53% from 2019.
Mike Shaw, 1st Lt. Michigan State Police, The News told The News on Friday that there had been six freeway shootings this year. “Five were part of other criminal activity that started off the freeway,” Shaw said. “One was a street rage.”
During his state of the city speech on Tuesday, Duggan highlighted a proposal to prioritize and address Wayne County’s backlog on gun crime cases. Duggan said shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 crisis helped the courts.
“The criminal justice system in this country has been closed for a year and we are feeling the impact on the shots you hear in your neighborhood and the stories you see on television,” Duggan said during his speech on Tuesday. “When your courts close, your prosecutors close, your parole closed, we have people who think there will be no consequences.”
Wayne County is down 2,200 gun cases, but Duggan said efforts will increase later this month to prioritize the cases and hear them before judges.
Adams said Duggan only addressed the crime issue late in his speech on Tuesday. And regarding the pending gun cases and Duggan’s plan to hasten the cases, Adams said it doesn’t go far enough.
“That’s only part of the strategy,” he said. In addition, the city must offer diversion services to young people caught with weapons.
Sandy Arnold, an East Side resident, showed up Friday to hear about Adams’ plan. Arnold said he did not feel safe in town and was not satisfied with the Duggan administration’s Project Green Light initiative. The effort includes high definition cameras for businesses and churches that will be fed into the Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center.
“The Green Light program doesn’t stop the crime. It just lets them see who is doing the crime,” he said. “I was a victim of promises. We need more intervention.”
Adams is the first high profile contender to declare his candidacy. There are nearly 20 others who have petitioned for the mayor’s race, including 2017 lead candidates, Myya Jones, Curtis Christopher Greene, Donna Pitts, Danetta Simpson, and Articia Bomer.
George Hunter contributed to this.