DETROIT (WWJ) – In his bi-monthly media address, Detroit’s police chief said there’s been a three percent drop in crime across the city of Detroit —and that includes homicides — but it’s not even close to good enough.
“The days of just riding through the streets with guns on your front seats, random shootings, are over,” said James Craig, now on the job as the city’s top cop for about a month.
Craig said he wants to see a rapid increase in emergency call response times that are currently at about 50 minutes.
According to Craig, 80 percent of calls coming in to the Detroit police department are non-emergencies.
Craig said that impedes the departments’ ability to answer real calls for help, and he wants to change the way calls are prioritized when they come into the department.
Incidents such as shootings, rapes and home invasions will strictly be given top priority starting next week.
Craig also wants to implement news warning tones over police radios to alert units.
“It’s not unreasonable to think that the Detroit police department can reach an average response time below seven minutes or below five minutes in some instances,” Craig said.
Another priority issue Craig wants to tackle is carjackings.”I know that many of them [carjackings] have occurred at gas stations, intersections. We really want to take a closer look,” he said.
It’s a problem, he said, that’s led to dangerous driving in the city.
“One thing that I’ve been kind of critical of: the good people of Detroit … some of them just blatantly run red traffic signals,” Craig said. “Now, I don’t know if they just have a total disregard for the traffic laws, or they’re afraid of being carjacked.”
Craig also said, beginning next week, there will no more virtual precincts in the city of Detroit. He said all precincts will be open 24/7.
Detroit’s former police chief, Ralph Godbee, had put the virtual precincts plan in place to save money — allowing him, he said, to get more police officers out on the streets.