Should Older Detroit Citizens Arm Themselves? Seniors Talk Safety Concerns At Summit

DETROIT (WWJ) – Hundreds of senior citizens expressed concerns about their safety as they met with Detroit’s top cop on Belle Isle.

A number of older Detroit residents, who attended a Senior Summit, Tuesday said they don’t like to venture out alone in the city.

“I’m very concerned about it because it seems like this generation don’t respect their elders,” said 93-year-old Julia Esaw.”And when I go out…I don’t go by myself, because I’ve seen how they mistreat the seniors, and it makes you feel bad.”

Tessie Barns, who’s lived in Detroit for 70 years, said that even though she’s scared sometimes, she won’t be packing heat.

“I’m not bothered about taking no gun or nothing; I’ve never took a gun,” Barns said.

Has 65-year Detroit resident Deloris Moore ever carried?

“I did that once; and I stayed in the store until somebody came and got me; and I had a gun in my purse, because…people were threatening me and stuff and I said, oh I’m gonna start carrying,” Moore said. “But I carried it and it didn’t do me any good. I was afraid to pull it out of my purse.”

For now, she’ll stick to her safety plan.

What is that?

“Well, you look all around you before you come out; you don’t wear flashy jewelry; you empty your purse,” Moore said. “And then you go, if anybody wants it let them have it!”

Some seniors are choosing to arm themselves, however, and Detroit Police Chief James Craig says that’s OK.

“I’m not talking vigilantism; I don’t buy into vigilantism; I think it’s criminal,” Craig told WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas. “I’m talking about good folks — who are trained, who are responsible — have an absolute right to protect themselves.”

Craig said, unfortunately, there can’t be a police officer on every corner and in front of every house, no matter what city you’re in.

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