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'Criminals Beware': Detroit Police Chief Says They're Taking Back The Neighborhoods

DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit's police chief is expressing outrage over a recent wave of violence against children in the city.

Addressing the media on Monday, Chief James Craig said his department will be cracking down on crime, especially on the city's west side.

"Criminals be warned: The Detroit Police Department has sworn to be indebted to the fight against crime," Craig said. "Be assured that we are about the business of taking back our neighborhoods."

Craig's comments come after the third shooting involving a minor in less than a month. A 3-year-old girl was fatally shot on Easter Sunday, and a 6-month-old girl sitting in a stroller was killed just last week. Over the weekend, a 4-year-old boy was shot and injured while riding his bike.

Craig said the crackdown will begin in the Eighth Precinct on the city's west side following a recent spike in crime. That area will see a concentrated DPD response, he said.

The chief offered this message to any criminal who would harm a child:

"Your season is over. What this is about, single fold: taking back neighborhoods, one neighborhood at a time...Criminals, beware. We're going to be there."

The chief called his new approach "robust" — something he said has worked in Los Angeles and Cincinnati, two-cities where Craig worked before he took over the top cop job in Detroit.

Craig said that, while well-intended, peace marches meant to bring awareness about violence in the city do not work.

To make a lasting difference, however, Craig said the department needs to gain greater community support.  If you see something, say something.

"A police department, regardless of city, cannot be on every block, every corner, 24-hour-a-day. What we do know, those neighborhoods that flourish are those that have active, willing community members — stakeholders — who join the fight in making their neighborhoods safe," Craig said.

Brenda Hill, with the group Mothers of Murdered Children, said everyone needs to get involved in the effort to better conditions in the city.

"We must stop this, and we're going to stop this. We're not gonna sit in our grief; were going to change the atmosphere," said Hill.

Pastor Maurice Hartwick, of the Live in Peace Movement, echoed that sentiment: "You cannot shoot this city up, you cannot kill our babies and get away with it."


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