Detroit police leader: We are 'epicenter' of America's gun problem

City sees 411 homicides in 2012, guns blamed as leading cause of deaths

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DETROIT - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and police officials said Thursday gun play in the city was the leading cause of criminal deaths in 2012.

Of the 386 criminal homicides the city recorded, 333 were caused by guns.

MORE: Further breakdown of 2012 Detroit crime statistics

"America has a problem with guns, but the epicenter seems to be here in Detroit," said Interim Police Chief Chester Logan. "As the chief of police in the city of Detroit, I take a certain amount of blame for the spiraling gun play in the city. But one of the things you should realize, and everybody here in this room should realize, is that gun play is a national problem."

--Detroit Police Inspector Dwane Blackmon

The year-end crime statistics were detailed during a briefing Thursday at City Hall.

Overall, the city saw a 2.6 percent decrease in major crimes -- aggravated assault, burglary and rape. The city saw increases in homicides, car theft and robbery.

Detroit police also investigated 39 suicides; 6 accidental deaths; 2 deaths from natural causes; and 3 deaths that occurred in another jurisdiction.

Bing said he is sitting down with Roy Roberts, the emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools, to have a conversation about getting involved with the city's young people.

"We've got wrap our arms as best we can around these young folks and let them know that when they get into these kinds of situation it doesn't necessitate a gun, it doesn't have to necessitate a fight," Bing said. "For all of the problems we have in Detroit, from a fiscal standpoint, if we don't make sure that our kids get the right kind of education so that they are prepared for jobs of tomorrow, we're still not going to fix the city."

Bing said city leaders can't help the crime problem by themselves.

"We really need to reach out to our entire community. Everybody has a role to play. It's a terrible problem that we're confronted with right now and it's going to take efforts from all of us to really solve the problem," Bing said.

When asked if he thought armed guards should be in schools, Bing said he wasn't in favor of the idea.

"I don't think more guns in the school is going to solve the problem," Bing said. "We've just lost respect for each other, loss respect for life. In some kind of way, all of us got to get involved in this for this next generation."

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