DETROIT (WWJ) – It was a violent holiday weekend in Detroit with 32 people shot — four of them fatally.
That’s according to Detroit Police James Craig who stressed, however, that that number is down from the same time period last year, when there when 10 people were killed and there were 28 non-fatal shootings.
“And make no mistake — I’m not suggesting that we’re waving the flag of success. Progress, absolutely,” the chief told WWJ’s Zahra Huber and other reporters Tuesday. ”
“Our work does continue. We continue to meet with our stakeholders in the communities. They’ve been very helpful in bring closure to come of these cases,” Craig continued. “So we’re still moving in the right direction. But to a family member of a victim (it’s) very difficult when you say that things are still moving in the right direction; because, again, one homicide, one shooting is one too many.”
The weekend violence included two triple shootings, Craig said, one involving a robbery and the other a domestic incident and four double shootings.
Why a rise in violence for the holiday?
“We can attribute it to a number of factors. People are in a celebratory nature, consumption of drugs and alcohol can be contributing factors,” Craig said. “The weather — and I don’t like to say this because some say, well it was hot — but we had a nice weekend, people were out. That sometimes can be a contributing factor.”
Craig said despite the drop in the murder rate over Labor Day weekend (tracked Friday through early Tuesday), homicides overall in the city are still up a bit from this time in 2015.
“At one point we were up 15 (homicides) and now we’re closing the gap. We’re up six from last year,” Craig said.
The chief said, after looking into stats from other cities, he believes that setting higher bonds for felons caught in possession of firearms might help curb the gun violence.
“Sometimes we say we wonder why crime is lower in places like Los Angeles and New York,” Craig said. “Well, I can tell you definitively that Los Angeles has a zero tolerance for an ex-felon with a gun.”
Craig said while in Detroit he’s been alarmed to see bond as low as $500; while in California they start out as high at $35,000. He said his department will be releasing a report on this study with more details soon.