Report links 21 to crime wave
Detroit Police study blames criminals for at least 149 offenses; violence dips after arrests.
David Josar and Amy Lee / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- A Detroit Police Department report says 21 criminals -- some operating alone, others in gangs of two to five -- were responsible for at least 149 crimes from late 2005 through 2006
The report, obtained Tuesday by The Detroit News, was created at the request of Chief Ella Bully-Cummings to illustrate her contention that a small number of criminals account for the majority of Detroit crime.
Police say the arrest of the 21 -- some are still awaiting trial but all are incarcerated -- are one factor in a decline in Detroit's violent crime this year.
"This is part of the reason violent crime is going down," said police spokesman James Tate. "But there is not a magic pill. there's a layered approach."
The report cited a common tenet of criminologists that felons commit about three times more criminal acts than the charges they face reflect. Using that calculation, Detroit police said the 20 men and one woman profiled in their report probably are linked to more than 450 crimes.
Central Michigan University professor and urban crime expert Eric Johnson confirmed that conclusion.
"Drug addicts alone can go out and commit hundreds of crimes in a few days, so it can be absolutely true," he said.
"If the inner city rots out, the whole community around it rots out, too, so it's important for the whole Detroit Metro area that somehow Detroit is revived, if it can be."Still, if the 21 were responsible for more than 450 crimes, that tally is just a fraction of the robberies, carjackings and homicides committed annually in Detroit. In 2002, according to Uniform Crime Reports, the city reported 85,035 crimes.In the 13-month period, police say, the 21 alleged marauders robbed, shot, raped and otherwise victimized people across the city, ranging from the Central Business District to southwest Detroit. "These are very bad people that are off the street," Tate said.
One of them, Darryl Thomas, 43, is serving up to 15 years in connection with 11 counts of armed robbery involving purse snatching. He's in isolation, after his cellmate was found murdered.
All but one of the 21 accused used a gun to intimidate victims. Fourteen had prior records.
Among the cases:
Five teenagers, armed with an Uzi automatic weapon, shot two people and raped three women as they committed 28 separate crimes. According to police records, Arthur Hailey, now 20; Jerome Hailey, 18; Davaughn Brown, 17; Catrell Torres, 20; and Jeffery Godlett, 16, terrorized people throughout the city until they were arrested at Eastland Mall July 7. Of the five, only Jerome Hailey had a previous record. Torres pled guilty and is serving 4-15 years in prison. Jerome Hailey and Arthur Hailey are serving 10-25 years; and Brown is serving 10-20 years. The outcome of the charges against Godlett was not available Tuesday.
Between August 2005 and October 2006, Lamont Sumerlin, 23, and Kenneth Johnson, 21, used a gun to rob dollar stores across the city. They were charged in connection with 26 armed robberies and two home invasions. They are to be sentenced this month.
17-year-old D'Juan Washington is serving a seven- to 20-year prison term for 18 armed carjackings in the city from September 2005 to March 2006, when he was captured by a special Detroit police unit. He pleaded guilty.
Jonah Wooten, 25, was charged with the armed robberies of seven parking lot attendants last November, in the Central Business District. Arrested in Canton Township, he is awaiting trial.
In recent months, Detroit has rolled out a number of initiatives to combat the spike in crime that in 2006 plagued not only Detroit but most of the nation.
Police Department brass now must participate in street patrols, and other officers are being redeployed so they are a more visible presence. The department is using rapid-response teams to flood areas with extra cops. In addition, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick floated a plan to assign gang squads to patrol public schools.
Kilpatrick also has stepped up pressure on city residents to be more responsible for their community.
"Nobody's coming to save us," he said in his State of the City address this month. "We have to stand up for ourselves and stand up now."
CMU's Johnson said comments like Kilpatrick's are important in attacking crime.
"It was courageous of him to say that. Courageous and probably not untrue," Johnson said.
For years, Bully-Cummings has preached that Detroiters can no longer turn a blind eye when family members come home with fur coats, expensive TVs and jewelry that they cannot afford.
Combating crime involves police, county prosecutors, the court system and the state Department of Corrections, Tate said, but regular residents are part of the equation too.
"People have to start doing something," he said. "In some families, they know what's going on, but nobody wants to be a snitch -- but you have to step up."http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar ... /703280371