Wayne State University Police: Huge drops in crime in Midtown Detroit

Wayne State Police teaming up with other agencies to fight crime

DETROIT - A team of crime fighters believes it has the right plan in place to stop crime in Midtown Detroit.

Midtown CompStat is the brainchild of the Wayne State University Police Department and the Center for Urban Studies. The program began in 2009 and uses a targeted crime-fighting approach both on and off campus.

"We identify the hot spots by crime mapping. We take the crime mapping and we look at the populations, we look at the event and we say 'Now what strategy can we put out there where we're effective?'," said Wayne State University Police Chief Anthony Holt.

Every two weeks law enforcement agencies and other groups meet to identify hotspots in Midtown; those are places where more crimes are happening. The group then comes up with strategies to combat the crime. Several different agencies are involved in the meetings; including Detroit Police, Wayne County Sheriff's Department, AmeriCorps, security at the Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Medical Center, even library security.

"It's an opportunity for us to, to share information and also to share resources," said Nick Radu, a representative from the Henry Ford Health System.

People who live and work in Midtown say they often notice police officers on their streets.

"I think it's great. It makes me feel like I can walk around," said Yao-fen You who lives in Midtown. "They patrol our streets pretty regularly."

Neighbors agree.

"There is a noticeable increase in seeing the cruisers and the SUVs in the neighborhood, just on general patrol, not responding to calls," said Jim Brown who also lives in Midtown.

The targeted crime fighting strategies include tactical deployment of uniform and undercover officers to the hotspots, joint patrols, home checks of parolees and monthly absconder sweeps with the Michigan Department of Corrections.

"The criminals that prey on our community aren't always from our community and having access to information of who they are, where they're from, what's their history, helps us be able to track the occurrences as they happen in our community," said Radu.

Midtown is broken up into sectors for officers to patrol. Examples include Wayne State's main campus, the Henry Ford sector, New Center, and Cultural Center to name a few.

The neighborhoods have also been organized.

"We have a block club, so we feel very safe here," said Gary Schwartz.

Under the direction of Americorps, neighborhoods are developing block clubs. The clubs are broken down by blocks and they help neighbors deal with problems like blight.

"To coordinate any issues that are here like helping to bring in lighting, which is always a big issue here," said Schwartz.

There are at least 114 clubs in the Midtown area.

CompStat began in 2009 and Holt said the plan is driving crime off campus and out of Midtown.

According to Wayne State police, serious crime is down 38 per cent since 2008. In addition to that, robberies are down 30 per cent, burglary is down 30 per cent
and auto theft is down 53 per cent.

"We're showing huge drops and the proof is not only in the numbers, the proof is if talked to the residents and businesses in the area and they'll tell you about quick police response, they'll tell you about high visibility," said Holt.

"I've always called Wayne State and they have an amazingly fast response time," said Brown.

Holt said its in their best interest to help the entire city of Detroit.

"What happens downtown near Cobo affects what happens on campus," said Holt.

Wayne State police said there is no evidence the crime they're driving out of Midtown is spreading to the surrounding area, so they believe those neighborhoods could also be benefiting from their targeted approach.

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