Thursday, March 01, 2007

Shooting in Warrendale

For the benefit of anyone who hasn't already heard the news, two children (ages 11 and 13) were shot and killed in their home on Mansfield last Friday. Their 23 year-old cousin Ronel Thompson was also shot in the home but survived. Detroit police found approximately $6,000 worth of cocaine in the home and believe that the adult cousin was a dealer.

Six suspects have been arrested in connection with the shootings, all had convictions on their record for drug related offenses. According to this morning's newspapers, one of the suspects wasn't supposed to on the streets. He was released from the Wayne County Jail ten days earlier when he should have been transferred to the Macomb County Jail where he was scheduled to serve a two-week sentence for fleeing and evading the police.

A few thoughts come rushing to mind in the aftermath of this madness.

First off, drugs kill.

It's really that simple. Drugs don't just kill the users they also kill the drug dealers when they get into fights with rival dealers. More importantly, drugs kill those who get caught in the crossfire - such as the two children who were shot last week.

The second thought that comes to mind from this is that because drugs kill people who were simply standing in the crossfire, it is imperative for the police to intervene; arresting drug dealers and users before shootings like this happen. The fact that enforcement has been so relaxed for so long has turned Detroit's neighborhoods into a virtual Wal-Mart for drug dealers - a place where they can ply their illicit trade with little fear of prosecution.

The fact that Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood is bounded on two sides by Dearborn and on a third side by Dearborn Heights, plus the fact that there is a freeway running through the middle of our neighborhood, means that suburban drug customers can easily come into the neighborhood to make their buys and then quickly leave.

The one bit of good news to come out of this shooting is that I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of police officers in the Warrendale neighborhood. Last night, while waiting for a bus, I saw three police cars and one police van along W. Warren Ave. Shortly after getting on the bus, I saw another police car - bring the total to five Detroit police vehicles that I saw in the Warrendale neighborhood within the span of approximately twenty minutes.

I have lived in the Warrendale neighborhood for years and have never seen five DPD vehicles in one day before, let alone within the span of twenty minutes. I have seen that many downtown several times, but never in the neighborhood.

This increase in police patrols is not without its benefits. I usually see three or four drug deals happen every week. In the past week, I haven't seen a single one.

I'm thrilled that the Detroit Police Department is stepping up its patrols. However, I'm sad that it took the deaths of two children to bring it about.

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