Tuesday, March 29, 2011

WACO Sets Up Crime Alert

The Warren Avenue Community Organization, which represents the portion of Warrendale east of the Southfield Freeway, has launched a new way to assist with the police and help fight against the crime that is being committed in our community. They now have in place a Crime Email Alert email address. It will be used to keep our neighbors vigilant and up to date with what is happening in our neighborhoods.

How this works is that if you see a crime taking place, burglary, car theft or if you see a robbery taking place, you will first call 911. You can then email the WACO Crime Alert with specific details like make, model, and year of car or license plate number. Please try and be very specific in description of person or persons committing crime.  The email address will be monitored by someone and they will filter out what will be forwarded to the police. Then  it will be sent to the members that have access to computers and an email address. You can choose to sign up for this or not.

This does not take the place of 9-1-1. This is mainly something to stay connected with your neighborhood. Know what is going on and what to be on the look out for. The email address for this waco-crimealert [at] hotmail [dot] com.

As of now, there is no such email alert system for the area that is west of the Southfield Freeway. If anyone would like to set one up, please let me know.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tip of the Week: Describing Bad Guys

After several years of covering life in the Warrendale neighborhood, I've heard a lot of stories about crime. People frequently share stories with me about something that they witnessed. Far too often, the descriptions boil down to something along the lines of "it was a black guy in a white car."

It can be challenging for law enforcement to track down such a perpetrator, simply because there are so many people who fit such a description. I'm thrilled, therefore, to be able to share a simple tool with everyone to witnesses provide the police with a better description of what they saw. It's the suspect description form. You can find it on-line here.

I ask that you print this suspect description form and carry a copy of it with you, along with a pen or pencil. If you see a crime in progress, please dial 9-1-1 immediately. Then, once you are able, please take a moment to fill in as many of those details as possible.

Was the black guy in a white car young or old? How tall or heavy was he? What was he wearing?

Details like this help law enforcement sort out the actual criminal from the innocent bystanders. Ultimately, it makes everything work better for everyone.

Giving a better description of the bad guys is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

WACO Meets This Thursday

The Warren Avenue Community Organization, which represents the portion of Warrendale that is east of the Southfield Freeway, will have their next meeting monthly meeting this Thursday, March 31. Their guest speakers will include:

  • Officer Knox of the Detroit Police Department;
  • Tony Kinsey from our Neighborhood Community Access Center; and
  • A representative from DTE.

This meeting will happen at the NFL Boys & Girls Club (16500 Tireman) from 6 - 8 p.m. Attendees are asked to enter at the East Entrance to the building.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The U.S. Census Bureau released its count of Detroit's population earlier today. The city currently has an official population 713,000 people, which is its lowest number in a hundred years. One should also point out that when Detroit last had a population this low, the city only had roughly half of its current land mass. Warrendale, and many of the neighborhoods that surround it, did not become a part of Detroit until the 1920s.

Mayor Dave Bing stated earlier today that he intends to challenge this count. It's possible that his efforts will be successful. However, I won't hold my breath on it. I believe that the Bing Administration would have been far more successful if they were more active in getting people to participate in the initial count last year instead of waiting to challenge the census count now.

The Bing Administration made a few overtures at encouraging people to participate in the Census. However, it obviously wasn't enough to have the effect that is needed. I find it doubtful that they'll be able to succeed at this point.

Regardless, I believe this illustrates precisely how serious matters are in Detroit. We have some very serious problems that require a serious discussion about solutions.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bad Ass Ship Gets Bad Ass Name

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced this past Friday that the U.S. Navy's newest warship will be named the USS Detroit. This will be a 378 foot long Freedom class littoral coast ship, which means that it is designed for combat operations close to shore.

The USS Detroit will unquestionably be one of the bad ass ships along hostile shores. It's only appropriate then that it have a suitably bad ass name.

Freedom Class Warship in the U.S. Navy

The USS Detroit is still being built at the Marinette Marine facility in Wisconsin. Once it is officially christened, however, I believe it would only be appropriate for this ship to sail off to its first duty with "American Bad Ass" by Detroit's own Kid Rock blaring from its public address system.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

Mayor Dave Bing addressed the Detroit Regional Chamber last Friday. In his remarks, Mayor Bing explained that attracting young professionals to Detroit was a key part of the city's redevelopment. He went on to assert that the City of Detroit is business-friendly.

To quote the great sage, Yogi Berra, "It's deja vu all over again."

I say this because Mayor Bing is, by my count, the fourth Mayor of Detroit in a row to make these assertions. As for the difference between him and the other mayors, according to Mayor Bing, he remarked, "What I think has been missing in the past is good leadership. You can trust this administration."

I feel a need to hop on my soap box on several points here.

First, after 40 years of life experience, I've come to the conclusion that the first person to stab you in the back or steal from you is usually the person who tells you repeatedly how honest he or she is. Honest people, at least in my personal experience, simply live up to their commitments and lead an honest life. They never feel a need to tell anyone how trustworthy they are.

Second, Detroit has never had a problem attracting young people to the inner city. Our challenge has always been retaining them after certain events such as marriage, the birth of their first child, or the first time they are the victim of a crime. Quite frankly, I see very little in the works that will change this.

Finally, as far as the City of Detroit being "business-friendly" goes, I will simply remind our good mayor that Detroit is one of the few major cities in the world where retail businesses can neither apply for nor renew a business license on-line. Instead, business owners must:
  1. Go downtown;
  2. Pay for parking;
  3. Endure a security screening at city hall on par with most airports;
  4. Wait in line at the Business License Center; and
  5. Most likely, have to wait in a similar line at at least one other department as well.
The entire process takes up most of day, in a business world ruled by the adage that "time is money."

So, yes, I have now heard Mayor Bing tell us for the eighth time in two years how trustworthy he is. I still, however, remember him as a candidate telling us how, "Detroit needs change - change with a sense of urgency." In spite of this, most the City of Detroit's bureaucracy remains intact and it still uses the same technology that they used back when Albert Cobo was mayor.

We still have a tax burden that is roughly double national averages.

We still have a police response time that lags well below national averages even though the Detroit Police Department has one of the largest budgets in the country on a per resident basis.

We still have challenges keeping our street lights on.

We still have problems with our streets.

We still have large sections of our city that are contaminated with lead and other hazardous materials.

And we are still slow to respond to dangerous buildings in our neighborhoods.

But at least we have a mayor who is willing to tell us repeatedly how honest and trustworthy he is. The young professionals who are moving into Detroit will undoubtedly solve everything else.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Responding to Glenn Beck's Detroit

Glenn Beck compared Detroit to Hiroshima yesterday. He argues that the problems that Detroit faces today are our own fault for electing Democrats.

When I first heard it, I thought that this was simply another in his long string of over-the-top messages that are largely intended to a) illicit a strong, emotional response and b) help Glenn Beck gain more attention and higher ratings. I wasn't going to respond at first because that simply gives him the one thing that he craves more than anything else - added attention.

Unfortunately, Glenn Beck's comments have ignited enough discussion that I feel compelled to respond. Luckily for me, my response to ruin porn fits can also serve as a response to Glenn Beck as well.

Glenn Beck is officially the new ruin porn.