Mixed signals

Christine from Detroit sent us some interesting information a few weeks ago about an alleged incident her boyfriend Rob had last November involving the Detroit Police. It is a pretty long story — click here to read the full version — but here are the basics according to Rob’s blog:

Rob lives in a neighborhood just south of Boston-Edison. Rob’s next-door neighbor moved to Ypsi 2 years ago because of high crime levels in the neighborhood, but she hasn’t been able to sell her house in Detroit yet. Since she now lives 40 minutes away from the home in Detroit, Rob keeps an eye on the house (which he alleges has been ransacked several times) and has a key to it.

Last November, Rob noticed “a suspicious white van with a broken-out back window” and then saw 2 men and a woman exit the van with a cordless drill and a flashlight. A few minutes later, “we hear loud cracking noises from wood boards on the front of my neighbor’s home” says Rob, so he unsuccessfully attempts to get his old neighbor on the phone and then calls the Detroit Police. Rob alleges that when the police officers arrived on the scene, they didn’t do anything to catch the alleged intruders and instead scolded Rob for not minding his own business.

After the police left, Rob called the Western District police office and asked an operator if someone would go through his neighbor’s house to ensure there aren’t any intruders inside. The person he spoke with at the Western agreed and connected Rob to 911. Guess who responds to the call? The officers that were there before – and they are not happy. They end up writing Rob a citation because he disregarded their first piece of advice to mind his own business.

After taking time off work to go to court for the citation and dealing with an erroneous warrant out for his arrest due to data input error by the 36th District Court, Rob alleges his case was dismissed on “probable deniability” on March 14, 2007 — the day after the Mayor’s State of the City address. What is ironic about that is the address partly focused on taking back our communities and neighborhoods by being actively involved in them.

I realize that this is only one incident, but unfortunately, it casts a negative shadow on the idea of becoming more involved in your community. If Rob’s words accurately depict what happened, it is a shame that Rob, an active citizen in his neighborhood, had to deal with this. It is also a shame that the alleged actions of these officers cast a dark cloud over the entire Detroit Police Department.

4 Comments so far

  1. Tom (unregistered) on March 23rd, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

    I’ve heard similar stories like this from people who live in Indian Village – about calling the police and either nobody shows up or the cops that do show up don’t even seem to care.

  2. max (unregistered) on March 23rd, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

    that same type of thing happened to me after several crimes i underwent last year which i why i went from being a proud part of the rejuvenation to a former resident almost over night, literally.

  3. RichardZ.com (unregistered) on March 23rd, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

    Ah the 36th District Court… what a hell hole. I would have been more surprised if they actually filed the paperwork correctly and without incident.

  4. Keith (unregistered) on March 26th, 2007 @ 8:04 am

    I hate to hear stories like this because I really, really want this city to come back. I must confess I’ve had some less-than-ideal situations involving local police, but I’ve also seen them really be on the job. I live right next door to that same neighborhood being described, and just two weeks ago we had to call the cops because of a late night altercation that was going on right in front of our house. Within 15 minutes two cop cars showed up and they handled the situation and cooled things down right away.

    Last summer we had to call the police because some neighbors were getting out of control. Once again the police came pretty soon, took our information, and made sure the neighbors knew that they needed to chill if they didn’t want to see him again.

    It’s just really tough out here now, but there are still folks out here trying – and succeeding. The cops are worn out, but there are still cops out there doing the best they can.

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