Detroit police Chief James White seeks solutions to reduce crime

Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

(CBS DETROIT) For the first time, Detroit’s police chief put law enforcement, clergy and community leaders in one room to find solutions to combat violent crime.

Graveyard placards outside Detroit Edison Public School Academy Thursday evening served as a somber reminder of the lives lost at the hands of another in Detroit — 221 lives as of Wednesday.

“A lot of the violence that’s being reported is senseless so what do we do?” Loretta Yancey, a Detroit resident, said in the school’s auditorium.

Yancey showed up for a town hall hosted by Detroit Police Chief James White, whose focus was to find solutions to address the root cause of crime.

“Sometimes it’s just an opportunity, but sometimes there’s a lack of opportunity, and we recognize in our impoverished communities, people can’t see themselves in success,” White told the audience.

As he spoke, recruiters were on hand looking to hire, while others explained how to get an expungement.

“If you could put people in the room to do this one time that you can get them there again and again and again until you completely exacerbate the problem of the violence that’s happening in the streets.”

DPD’s top brass explained to the audience what Shotspotter is and isn’t.

“What it cannot do is produce live streaming of sensor audio,” said Michael Parish with the Detroit Police Department.

The gunshot detection technology is seeing resistance ahead of the city council’s vote to pay for its expansion.

But others believe it’s a key step toward a safer community.

“You got the group. You got to take this and carry it forward,” an audience member told the panel.

White understands the community is willing to help.

“We have a lot of meetings, we talk a lot, but we have to do something. But bringing these people to the table and having this conversation to make a true impact. We have to now take the next step,” he said.

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