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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Federal, local officials launch initiative to curb gun-violence in Detroit's high-crime areas

Attorney Dawn N. Ison
Briana Rice
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Federal and local law enforcement are partnering up in Detroit’s most violent neighborhoods. They’re trying to reduce gun violence this summer.

Federal and local law enforcement are partnering up in Detroit’s most violent neighborhoods in an effort to reduce gun violence this summer.

During a Monday press conference, Detroit Police Chief James White; Mayor Mike Duggan; Dawn Ison, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; and representatives from FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives announced a plan called Project Safe Neighborhoods.

This partnership will focus on neighborhoods in the east and northwest of Detroit. Those neighborhoods had the highest rates of fatal and non-fatal shootings, robberies, and aggravated assaults with a gun this year.

Under the initiative, anyone caught with a gun after being convicted of a felony, or anyone who uses a gun for a violent crime or drug trafficking, will be considered for federal prosecution.

Federal prosecution comes with stiffer penalties: up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Depending on a person's criminal record, the penalties could be harsher.

"Put your guns down because if you don’t the Feds are coming. We are coming and we are going to arrest you. And I’m going to tell you what you’re looking at if arrested you’re a felon and you’re arrested for illegally possessing a gun, you will face up to 10 years in prison," Ison said.

Ison said that officials examined homicide data in all precincts in the city. In 2021, the eighth precinct had 756 violent incidents and the ninth precinct had 917, she said. So far this year, the eighth precinct has had 678 violent incidents and the ninth has had 708.

Sandra Turner-Handy lives in one of the targeted neighborhoods.

"I live in one of the most violent zip code in the city," she said. "But we also want a higher quality of life where we feel safe, where we’re not worried about our kids being shot unnecessarily."

The program began on Memorial Day and is slated to last until Labor Day.

Mayor Mike Duggan said shootings were down in 2022, but 320 people have been shot so far this year in Detroit.

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