About 300 plain-clothes officers of the Detroit Police Officer's Association were handing out fliers before Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park Saturday to "let the public know they enter Detroit at their own risk."
Detroit, once known as the automobile capital of the world, is very well-known for its crime and dilapidated conditions. The DPOA is doing nothing to prevent this poor reputation. Instead, it is putting fuel on the fire.
"The city is getting more dangerous," said DPOA President Joe Duncan. "In fact, the only thing I know that's going down in the city of Detroit is my paycheck and my membership."
Obviously bitter, and with a right to be, Detroit officers are not happy with the city's call for a contract that cuts pay by 10 percent and has officers on the streets for 12-hour shifts. However, this is no reason to say the city is getting more dangerous. In fact, as a lifelong resident, I'd beg to say the opposite.
Yes, the murder rate is up. But, this doesn't mean you need to be afraid of Detroit. Police Chief Ralph Godbee (who stepped down this week amid scandal) said in September something that is not addressed at the national and international levels, where people think Detroiters are killing everyone who comes across the border.
He said, "This is not just a law enforcement issue. The increased prevalence of individuals choosing to use acts of violence to settle disputes between friends, acquaintances and more disturbingly family members must be addressed, if we are to stop the violence in our communities."
Basically, most of Detroit's homicides, and other violent acts, occur when the people involved know each other. Sadly, their conflicts often result in the violence that has put Detroit back on the map.
I grew up in a neighborhood on Detroit's west side. I now go to Wayne State University in Midtown. I've lived here ― and in an apartment just southwest of downtown ― for over a year now. And, believe it or not, I have walked around at night. It's simply not as dangerous as it is often portrayed.
The photos below show Detroit during the day and night. It isn't necessarily the most glamorous city, but that's another story.