Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tax Cuts & Cops

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick has announced plans to cut property taxes temporarily in certain Detroit neighborhoods. Warrendale will not be one of those neighborhoods.

I'm not worried about Warrendale being left out of the property tax cuts. The targeted neighborhoods (Indian Village, Palmer Woods, etc.) all have much higher property values so they're paying a lot more in taxes then we are.

My question is this: if the City can find a way to cut property taxes, why can't we find a way to hire more cops?

Every day, there are hundreds of citizen calls to 9-1-1 that go unanswered. I had to call 9-1-1 twice in the past few months and been told that there were no officers available to respond.

The first time was when a domestic dispute turned violent and someone tried repeatedly to run over a pregnant woman in the street. "Is there a weapon present?" the 9-1-1 dispatcher asked.

"Yeah," I answered, "a car."

"Sorry, we can't respond to anything at the moment unless there's a shooting."

A couple of months later, there was another situation at the same house. This time it was 3 guys arguing. After a couple of minutes, one of them pulled out a handgun.

"Have they started shooting?" the dispatcher asked.

When I told her that they hadn't, I was told that I would have to call back once the shooting starts.

This wouldn't be so bad if I were the only one this happened to me. However, the Detroit Free Press went through the Detroit Police Department's records over the summer and found that there are hundreds of citizen calls to 9-1-1 that go unanswered every day. Calls that simply "drop off the board" because there isn't an officer available to respond.

All of this is on top of the various quality of life issues and non-violent crimes that go unanswered in Warrendale. The windows that got busted at La Hacienda, Warrendale Insurance and Pete's Bar. The hundreds of cases of illegal dumping that the Warrendale Community Organization documents every month.

None of these issues get a response from the City or DPD.

If we can find a way to cut property taxes in certain neighborhoods, why can't we find a way to hire more cops?
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