Detroit and its surrounding municipalities are some of the most dangerous areas in North America. The State government, federal authorities, and community groups are all working hard to change Michigan for the better.
Here are 5 crime-stopping initiatives being put in place today:
Governor Snyder Requests Smart Justice for Michigan
According to a statement released in March 2012, Governor Snyder requested that the legislature pass laws that “will hold chronic offenders accountable for their actions, bring peace of mind to community residents, help to break the cycles that perpetuate crime, and unleash Michigan’s economic growth.”
Snyder’s proposed policies are aimed specifically at the communities of Flint, Detroit, Saginaw, and Pontiac, which according to FBI data are among the 10 most dangerous places in America. For example, the Secure Cities Partnership requests the allocation of millions of dollars towards the training of new state troopers, whose role would be to provide local assistance and to coordinate teams of local, state and federal law enforcement officers in patrolling high-crime areas.
Federal Support of Law Enforcement and Prosecution Efforts
As evidenced by the conviction earlier this year of members of a notorious Flint gang in federal court for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), federal resources are now being used to tackle street gangs in Michigan.
This development stems from Governor Snyder’s Secure Cities Partnership, which proposed that FBI agents stationed in Michigan should assist in local law enforcement. In addition, the US Attorneys office for the Eastern District of Michigan was tasked with providing prosecutorial support—which is exactly what happened this year when local and federal prosecutors teamed up to take down the Flint gang.
Ceasefire Detroit Seeks to Make the Streets Safer
Ceasefire Detroit, a community-led program, seeks to reduce homicide and violence in Detroit by appealing to the morals of repeat offenders. The concept was developed at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and it has seen significant success in cities such as Boston and Cincinnati, where Ceasefire helped reduce homicide rates by 60% and 41% respectively.
Ceasefire Detroit operates by setting up a series of meetings with gang members on parole or probation. Law enforcement officers give the first meeting, during which they explain the harsh consequences of recidivism. The second meeting involves social services workers, who educate the gang members about job training and substance abuse programs available to them upon their release.
The third and most important meeting comprises people living within the offender’s community. These clergy members, ex-offenders, and victims’ relatives describe the consequences of gang activities and violence—sometimes in gruesome detail. With a significant portion of street violence being committed by small, hardened groups of repeat-offenders, Ceasefire Detroit aims at changing the hearts of those most likely to commit violent acts upon their release.
Increasing Diversity in law Enforcement Will Improve Policing
In 1993, federal oversight of the Michigan State Police’s racial composition stopped. Since then, diversity within the trooper’s ranks has been declining steadily. For example, only 14 individuals of the trooper’s last recruiting class of 430 were black.
It’s important for law enforcement to reflect the communities they patrol, and with State troopers being tasked with the support of local operations under the Secure Cities Partnership, an increase in diversity in the trooper’s ranks will be essential. So far, Governor Snyder has asked the clergy to help identify potential black recruits and has started developing a cadet program for minority youth.
Governor Snyder Wants to Send Fewer Criminals to Prison
One goal of Governor Snyder’s Smart Justice Program is to reduce the number of prisoners in Michigan’s prisons. If successful, the plan will result in the ability to “allocate our resources to address the root causes of criminal behavior, such as mental health issues, substance abuse, child neglect and truancy, which can prevent crimes from happening in the first place,” according to a statement Governor Snyder made earlier this year.
With the cost of housing an inmate for a year reaching $35,000, reducing Michigan’s jail population of 43,000 would free significant resources for Smart Justice programs. For the plan to be successful, however, Governor Snyder will need the support of politically powerful groups such as the Attorney General’s Office and the Michigan’s Sheriff’s Association, which have successfully countered previous sentencing reform attempts.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, hiring an experienced Michigan criminal lawyer to handle your case is the best way to avoid hefty fines and long jail sentences. Until the criminal justice system is completely reformed, skilled defense lawyers will be necessary to secure the rights of the accused. Call the Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.