Post Number: 1508
|Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 12:34 am: || |
By HENRY PAYNE
December 8, 2007
The Wall Street Journal
This past summer, comedian Bill Cosby came to Motor City and invited 700 men to an east side church. His aim? To combat violent crime by encouraging more parental involvement. "We've got to get these parents to get fired up," he told a reporter afterward.
Last month, Congressional Quarterly released a report detailing the central problem Mr. Cosby is trying to address: violence. Detroit isn't just another violent city. According to the CQ report, which analyzed statistics compiled by the FBI, it is now America's most dangerous city. Its murder rate of 47 per 100,000 residents is well above Chicago and New York.
It is little wonder then that Mr. Cosby is making Detroit a centerpiece of his national campaign against black crime.
Detroit is 81% black and, according to the Census Bureau, one-third of its residents live below the poverty line. The nuclear family is all but nonexistent in the city. In 1960, 25% of black residents were born to single mothers. By 1980, that number had climbed to 48%. Today, over 80% of Detroit's black children are born to single-parent households. Just one in nine black boys is raised with a father.
According to academic research, over 50% of black men in Detroit are high-school dropouts. In 2004, 72% of those dropouts were jobless. By their mid-30s, 60% have done prison time. Among black dropouts in their late 20s, according to a University of California, Berkeley, study, more are in prison (34%) than are working (30%).
Some have said that Detroit is in the throes of committing cultural suicide. It may be more accurate to call it a cultural homicide. One murder victim this year was 34-year-old Lakeisha White. She was eight-months pregnant with a baby boy, and the mother of two other children, when she was gunned down. Brian Carter, just 16, was shot and killed earlier this year while standing on a street corner. Another victim, a 49-year-old man, was walking his four-year-old nephew to a neighborhood pharmacy when a bullet found and killed him.
Notwithstanding the crime, city officials responded to CQ's report by attacking it. "The city is as safe as any other major American city," Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick declared through a spokesman. Police Chief Ella M. Bully-Cummings, whose four-year tenure has coincided with a 15% rise in homicides, said CQ had a "skewed methodology" that forced Detroit to come out on top of nearly 400 cities studied nationwide with populations over 75,000.
It's true that there is a bright spot on Detroit's landscape -- a newly restored downtown. With the help of nearly $15 billion in public and private development funds, downtown Detroit has become a one-square-mile wonder.
Today, there are jobs to be had in the riverfront core of the city. Quicken Loans has established its headquarters there, along with 4,000 jobs. General Motors and Compuware as well as three casinos and two professional sports teams have all moved in. The streets are stirring with people, small shops and restaurants.
Crime in the downtown area is down by 33% since 2001 -- thanks, a Wayne State University study found, to the "vigilance of law enforcement agencies," which along with private security guards, have about 2,000 people patrolling streets near the renovated squares and graffiti-scrubbed buildings.
Of course, outside of downtown there are the other 138 square miles of the city. There it's a different story. The city's population peaked in the 1950s, after decades of multiethnic urban migration. At the time crime rates were stable, even in a blue-collar city rife with racial tension. That changed with the social welfare policies of the 1960s. Detroit erupted into riot in 1967, and in the years that followed violence never abated. In 1966 the murder rate stood at 13 per 100,000 residents. By 1976 it had climbed to 51 per 100,000 residents and has hovered there since.
Downtown is an island in a city with one of the lowest median incomes ($29,000) in America. The city's middle class -- black and white -- has vanished. Downtown Detroit brings in 74,000 middle-class workers every day, but only 6,500 people actually live there. The workers have little reason to stay. Detroit public schools are the worst in the state, and local politicians oppose school choice, even turning down a $250 million gift from education philanthropist Robert Thompson, who in 2003 wanted to fund new charter schools.
The one-two punch of family disintegration and middle-class flight has left Detroit unable to address its problems. New York tackled crime in the 1990s because voters, many of them middle class, elected Rudy Giuliani and other leaders to combat crime and reform the city's police force. Homicide fell, to six per 100,000 residents from 30 per 100,000. Likewise, in Southfield, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, middle-class blacks are a majority of the population and display little tolerance for unsafe streets. The murder rate there is 1.3 per 100,000 residents.
In contrast, Detroit's city council is elected at large, so neighborhoods have no direct representation and therefore little ability to force change through the ballot box. The one exception is downtown, where business coalitions form a powerful constituency that can affect change other neighborhoods cannot.
Ultimately, Detroit's future may depend on whether Bill Cosby is right in saying that we need to get parents fired up. To Detroit's west is Dearborn, Mich., a city with a population that's 30% minority Arab. Here children -- many of whom are first generation immigrants who can't speak English -- are raised in a vibrant culture where family is paramount and education prized.
Last year, Dearborn's population of 100,000 suffered just two murders.
Mr. Payne is a writer and editorial cartoonist for The Detroit News.
Post Number: 4118
|Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 2:22 am: || |
thanks, Mrjoshua. the outside media attention on Detroit lately has been heightened, and mostly it's a good thing because they are increasingly objective.
Post Number: 733
|Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 2:31 am: || |
"Today, over 80% of Detroit's black children are born to single-parent households. Just one in nine black boys is raised with a father."
i always wondered why
Post Number: 1891
|Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 8:52 am: || |
the quicken loans HQ is already done, damn that was quick! which site did they choose?
Post Number: 1509
|Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 7:57 pm: || |
Yes Mackinaw, although the op-ed exposes some harsh data, it does pay homage to the progress that has been made downtown.
Post Number: 52
|Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 8:11 pm: || |
"Police Chief Ella M. Bully-Cummings, whose four-year tenure has coincided with a 15% rise in homicides, said CQ had a 'skewed methodology' that forced Detroit to come out on top of nearly 400 cities studied nationwide with populations over 75,000."
Why does EBC make broad accusations instead of doing something about the numbers? All that time bitching and moaning could be spent on more productive endeavors, like training those new 200 officers King Kwame talked about hiring.
Post Number: 79
|Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 9:27 am: || |
I love quotes from police chiefs in major urban areas especially those like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Detroit who have bigger problems than other cities.
Jut think, police departments skew stats every year to make their cities look safer by making larcenies burglaries, reducing assault charges, making rapes go away with dismissals/evidence, and by approaching reporting in different ways depending on the time of year. Murders are the one crime statistic you can't hide. You might be able to hide a few as accidental or justifiable homicides but when bodies show up with gunshots in the head and chest they are going to stick. If a city is 2nd in murders for the year it is more than likely second in crime also and Detroit I know for a fact hides a hell a lot of larcenies, assaults, and home invasions. “Well sir what good would it do us to file a report? What do you think the chance is of getting your stuff back? Do you have insurance?” lol
It's a vicious cycle and a lot of people are to blame. First blame your neighbors who didn't see anything and don’t vote; then blame the cops who didn't show or came the next day; then blame the state for not giving enough money to the city to hire/keep police; then blame city council for standing idle while the neighborhoods fall apart because they have no district, zone or constituency to answer to; and finally blame the mayor for never sticking his neck out for the city because he wants to be re-elected instead of wanting to be the guy who changed things. Then blame yourself for not moving out while you could and now the house you bought for peanuts in 1985 is worth the same or less than it was because everyone else sold to slum lords and your neighborhood is filled with section 8 renters who never have worked a day in their lives and don’t plan to start anytime soon. They are good at sitting at home or walking the block but not good at seeing who walked away with your lawnmower and your kid’s big wheel at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a sunny Detroit day.
Excuses, excuses, excuses. It’s the one thing people of Detroit regardless of color are great at.
Post Number: 444
|Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 10:13 am: || |
Do keep this in mind though, New Orleans does not publish their crime stats till after the first of the year. I bet N.O. is WAY ahead of any city this year (if they publish correct stats)!
Post Number: 80
|Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 10:18 am: || |
Finishing second to New Orleans in murders is like taking the bar chick with the full mustache home instead of the 300-pounder your buddy landed.
Post Number: 14
|Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 10:23 am: || |
Hiring of 200 cops is smoke and mirrors _ yes, the city will hire the 200 cops but that is to fill current vacancies not boost the size of the force.
Post Number: 51
|Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 11:15 am: || |
"Today, over 80% of Detroit's black children are born to single-parent households."
What does it say when 48% of all kids grow up in a single parent home, and the next generation is nearly twice (over 80%) as negligent with respect to family and birth control?
No education. Kids think it is normal to grow up without a dad. Young men think it is ok to walk out on a kid. It means way over 80% of sexual couples (two people have a chance to say "hold on a minute") are devoid of any sense of social responsiblity. No responsibility for birth control, their lives, or their kids lives.
Schools, churches, government, private firms, and homes need to preach without worrying about offending anybody. This is a socioeconomic nightmare spiraling out of control.
Will the next generation top 90% single parent homes?
Hiring more police will reduce crime and I'm all for it. Even with more police broken homes will continue to inject criminals into the community.
We can play with crime stats all we want, but the stigma is firmly attached. Other cities may pass around the title of "murder capitol", but we are always cleverly known as "the Murder City"
Post Number: 18
|Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 11:35 am: || |
I agree with Rob, it's about education and getting past worrying about offending the super-religious folks who think the only sex ed is abstinence. Sexual education needs to be mandatory in middle school, especially for schools that get any government funding whatsoever. Now parents are allowed to opt their children out of it, though, and many religious schools don't teach it, or teach it with the focus of "don't do it," not "we know you're doing to do it anyway so here's how to do it safely." Abstinence-based sex ed is in many ways as dangerous as no sex ed at all.
Post Number: 255
|Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 11:49 am: || |
New Orleans, New Orleans…
If referring to per capita murders, then yes New Orleans (home of the misdemeanor murder) is by far the leader; I don’t think Detroit is second or even third.
Last year, university researchers conducted an experiment in which police fired 700 blank rounds in a New Orleans neighborhood in a single afternoon. Not one person called in to report the gunfire.
Homicides hit their historic peak in New Orleans in 1994, with 421 dead — more per capita than any other U.S. city that year, however within just five years, the number was slashed by nearly two-thirds, to 159.
But by last year, the number in New Orleans had crept back up to 265. There have been 192 this year by mid-August.
I would put “Killadelphia” second and then maybe Baltimore (home to HBO's apocalyptically grim series The Wire)
Detroit’s murder count of 444 (which is much higher than I thought it was) and counting (taken from another thread on this web site) will far surpass the New Orleans body count and is closer to New York when it comes to raw data.
As of Friday, November 23, 2007 the NYPD counted 428 homicides throughout the city, down 16.2% from 511 at the same time in 2006.
At the current rate, the city should expect to register about 485 homicides, or 1.3 per day.
http://thatslifeinthecity.blog spot.com/2007/11/new-york-city -murder-rate-at-record-low.htm l
Baltimore: The homicide total for the current year stands @ 275 as of 12/18/07
http://www.examiner.com/a-1113 213~Homicide_count_in_Baltimor e_hits_275__one_shy_of_2006_ta lly.html