Detroit police chief says 2014 will be different

In interview with Local 4 Defenders, James Craig says crime will be reduced

DETROIT - Detroit's crime numbers are improving, but Chief of Police James Craig isn't celebrating, because he knows the numbers still stink.

"We should not have an excess of 300 homicides a year in the city of Detroit," Craig told the Local 4 Defenders.

Craig said he recently met with the chief of police in Los Angeles and compared notes and crime stats.

"What we learned was that, a couple of months ago, Detroit was sitting at roughly 275 murders. In LA, it was only 220 in a city of four million people," Craig said.

Detroit is a city where murders are counted by the hundreds -- at least 315 and counting. If you're counting shootings, it's more than a thousand.

Craig said he knows the numbers aren't just numbers, they represent people.

"What about an elderly woman that gets tied up and beaten in a home invasion? What about a good Samaritan that gets shot helping someone?" Craig said.

While Detroit is no longer the murder capital of America, it's still in the top 10. Several of Detroit's neighborhoods are among the most dangerous in the country.

Craig said there is a culture in Detroit that accepts violence. But, Craig said, violent crime is never OK and it has to stop.

"This city has had the distinction of being one of the most violent cities in America. Should we be proud of that? This is my home," Craig said.

But Craig said he has a plan to turn the city into one of the safest.

Craig said he and his team will be focusing on dissection crime, finding where it happens, why it happens and who is committing it.

"I don't want to put a Band-Aid on something that needs a suture," he said. "I want to do a deep tissue analysis and eradicate the cancer cells."

The police chief said one of the changes will be happening right in his department with the way his officers approach their jobs.

"There was no focus, no sense of urgency, no relentless follow-up to violent crime," Craig said. "The new DPD mentality is about getting it done. No complacency, no excuses."

He promises a massive reduction in crime, saying citizens will see a smarter approach to policing.

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