DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police arrested 32 people in what Chief James Craig is calling the biggest crime sweep in the city in 20 years.
On Friday, over 150 officers swept through a crime-plagued east side neighborhood that included a cluster of apartment buildings near Jefferson Ave. and Cadillac Blvd.
There have been 600 calls to the area since January about an assortment of crimes.
“Ranging from assault, shooting incidents, narcotic activity, domestic violence — you name it, it happened,” Craig told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting. “Even, within the last couple of years, Detroit police officers have been fired upon from this very location.”
Residents’ support for the police effort was clear.
“About damn time!” one man yelled.
“People started to clap, started to cheer; they’d been waiting too long,” said Craig. “I talked to neighbors in the area, clapping and cheering, and the message is: Enough is enough.”
Craig and he even got a compliment from a man who had been arrested.
“One of the people taken into custody, as he was going on the bus, he looked at me and said, ‘Chief, thank you.'” Craig said. “This was the second time an arrested thanked me — once when I was a young people officer in the LAPD; and now in Detroit as the police chief, he said, ‘Thank you. My family will be safe.'”
Craig said Friday’s raid targeted one of the most crime-ridden, dangerous areas of the city. He said one aspect of crime fighting is psychological.
“We want to reduce the fear of crime,” said Craig, “and we’re doing that by doing this, because people will know Detroit police care about us because we’re doing this.”
Police are still searching for others in the area who have warrants or are suspects in open cases.
“We do have some of the targets were were looking for, and we did arrest individuals that we had no knowledge were inside this building,” said Captain Charles Mahone. “But, again, that was the purpose of this operation to go into this building and root out those individuals who should not be here who were committing crimes and who needed to be arrested.”
Detroiter Brian, who has lived in the neighborhood all his life, was among those who watched as several people were taken into custody at apartments near East Jefferson and McClellan.
“You know, anytime you see progress in the city you’re glad to see that; and this would actually be a form of progress — it would have to be,” he said. “I’m just shocked that it took this much police activity for a building like this, that’s all.”
The names of those arrested and the details of their crimes were not immediately released.