Detroit Free Press, March 1, 2012
Detroit’s east side is being warned: The federal government is watching — very closely.
Responding to the latest spate of violence in the city, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced a federal crackdown Wednesday on the entire east side, saying the crime-plagued area has become the most violent section in the city and warrants federal attention. Homicides, in particular, she stressed, are “intolerably high” on the east side, where there was a 75% jump in homicides last year. The west side had a 27% drop last year.
“I made it my personal resolution in 2012 to reduce homicides in the city of Detroit,” McQuade said at a news conference, flanked by 15 uniformed federal, local and State Police officials. “We will not allow Detroit to be defined by violence and homicides.”
The city recorded 344 homicides in 2011, up from 308 in 2010. As of Sunday, Detroit has had 49 homicides this year, compared with 39 during the same period last year.
However, overall violent crime was down 8% last year, with 7,300 fewer incidents.
In recent weeks, Detroit has witnessed the shooting death of an infant, the slaying of a 12-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy accused of killing his mother, and a 6-year-old critically injured after being shot with an AK47 during an attempted carjacking.
That has drawn the attention of federal agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. All want to help Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr.
Under the federal government’s intervention plan, federal, state and local agents will comb the east side and focus on gun crimes.