Detroit crime stats slightly down, but Chief White says 'it's not enough,' as he meets with community members to find solutions

Town hall meeting with Detroit police
Photo credit Ryan Marshall/WWJ

DETROIT (WWJ) – On a day Detroit police officials detailed statistics that show overall crime numbers are dropping in the city, Chief James White and others held a town hall meeting with community members to talk about how they can make the city safer.

While White says the number of murders and non-fatal shootings have gone down, bucking a nationwide trend of rising crime seen in most cities, he and others say it’s not enough.

There have been eight fewer murders in Detroit compared to this time last year, and over 120 fewer reported non-fatal shootings.

But White says that’s “721 times somebody tried to kill someone and wasn’t successful.”

“It’s not like a non-fatal shooting was intended to be a non-fatal shooting. It’s a failed murder,” he said.

Since taking over last June White has been working to crack down on gun violence across the city.

"People often stop me on the street and say, 'Chief, we can see that these murders weigh on you,'" White said. "Yeah. They do. 'Chief, we can see in your eyes and on your heart.' And I appreciate that, but I will never become desensitized to a child losing their lives in our city when I know there's so much more we can do."

That’s part of the why the department hosted a town hall Thursday, seeking feedback from a packed house at Edison Public School Academy as to what they’d like to see be done in the neighborhoods.

Bishop Daryl Harris, the Faith Based Coordinator with Cease Fire Detroit, was one of the moderators of the town hall.

He told WWJ’s Ryan Marshall the event was an opportunity for the community to hold both itself and the police accountable.

“Because all of us have to be accountable in this peace in order for it to work,” Harris said.

Much of the crowd at Thursday’s meeting was dressed from head to toe in white in honor of Detroit Day of Peace.

A woman named Sandra told Marshall outside the meeting she wants DPD to address how many people of color simply afraid of police.

“We hear so much of the police having to kill a young Black guy because he was running. And that’s not good, so they have to find a solution, they’ve got to find a togetherness because it’s just – we’re losing too many young, Black people.”

While this was the first police chief town hall, DPD officials hope and expect there will be more in the coming months and years.