Reducing homicide and violent crime in Detroit is essential to improving our quality of life. Even those who live outside the city should be concerned about crime in Detroit, because it affects the success of our region and our state. We cannot allow Detroit to be defined by homicide and violence
While law enforcement agencies are working together to arrest and remove dangerous people from our community, long-term solutions to reducing violent crime require thoughtful prevention efforts.
A federal judge in Detroit recently told me that when he imposes a long prison sentence on a violent offender, he wishes he could "rewind the tape" to the point in the defendant's life before he became involved in crime. Prevention efforts underway in Detroit seek to do just that. The U.S. Attorney's Office is focusing on two key areas: youth violence prevention and re-entry.
First, we have been working with the City of Detroit, one of six cities participating in President Obama's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Police Chief Ralph Godbee, Mayor Dave Bing's staff, youth and others from Detroit joined us in Washington, D.C. this week to present progress on Detroit's youth violence prevention plan, and shared ideas with representatives from the other five cities participating in the forum. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. praised Detroit and the other cities for their progress in reducing youth violence. The Detroit plan includes safe routes to school, an in-class alternative to expulsion, a Ceasefire intervention program, and a summer jobs strategy for youth. The Detroit plan was developed with input from law enforcement, educators, the faith community, public health professionals, non-profit agencies, business leaders, and youth. Detroit’s plan not only seeks to reduce youth involvement in violent crime, but also to prevent youth from becoming victims of violent crime. Citizens who want to get involved in reducing youth violence may learn more at BelieveInDetroit.org.
Second, the U.S. Attorney's Office is working with offenders who are re-entering the community after serving prison sentences. Because two-thirds of offenders commit new crimes, focusing on this population is an efficient use of resources. We are meeting face-to-face with prisoners and recently released parolees to equip them with information about the consequences of committing new crimes and the services available to help them to become productive citizens, such as job training and placement, drug counseling, and bus transportation. Our prosecutors also participate in the federal district court's new re-entry court, which provides intensive supervision, resources and accountability requirements for high-risk offenders in hopes of reducing recidivism.
These strategies provide hope to fulfill the judge's wish to "rewind the tape," so that we can reduce violent crime and homicide, and give all us the quality of life we expect and deserve.
Barbara L. McQuade
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Michigan