Detroit police's Operation Ceasefire takes guns off the street

- Welcome to Detroit's Ninth Precinct.

"One of the worst in the city and historically the most violent," said Detroit police Capt. Eric Decker.

But that may be changing

"We went from 201 non-fatal shootings in 2015 to a 125 last year," Decker said.

Detroit police says homicides are down in the precinct as well.

Operation Ceasefire is a collaborative effort taking aim at gun violence and gang crime--by targeting the few Detroiters making life miserable for the rest.

"A lot of that initially starts through the event that is referred to as a call-in," said Bishop Daryl Harris, of Operation Ceasefire.

Harris and others are from the Ceasefire outreach team--- they build relationships with gang members and affiliates whose parole or

Probation orders require them to participate in a call-in--where they come face to face with Mayor Mike Duggan, Chief James Craig and US Attorney Barbara McQuade and are confronted with a choice.

"This is law enforcement," Harris said. "They'll do what they have to do if your guys don't put the guns down, but what they'd rather for you to do is take the services that are being offered."

Ceasefire partners with organizations that help gang members who want to change their lives find jobs, substance abuse treatment, even housing.

"We'll go as far as we need to go to make sure we provide the help that you need," said Quincy Smith of Operation Ceasefire.

They don't always get through to gang members--- but those most affected by their crimes, at times, do.

"One of the most responsive parts of our call-in events is when that voice of pain which is usually a mother who has lost a son to that kind of violence and was innocent from gang affiliations and what not," Harris said. "To see the response that happens with those guys when they're sitting there. Because a lot of them don't know the negative portion they've afflicted on someone else who's still here."

FOX 2: "How many guys have come through this program and turned their lives around and they're now on the right track?"

"At least 67," said Keith Bennett program director of the Flip the Script "And when I say 67, I'm talking about 20 high-profile gang members that were leaders, known shooters."

Keith Bennett is from Goodwill's Flip the Script - a group that helps felons and at risk youth turn their lives around.  They've teamed up with Detroit Ceasefire to make a bigger impact.

FOX 2: "Talk about what it takes to keep guys on the right track."

"It takes love and nobody wants to talk about that," Bennett said.  "That is the biggest factor of all."

If the relationships, resources and heartfelt pleas are the carrot---aggressive policing, investigations and indictments are the stick. And several gang members in the Ninth Precinct have felt its blow.

"We probably removed more than 50 true violent people out shooting people," Decker said. "They're out of the equation.

"The message is out there. It’s pretty clear to the guys that are in those groups, 'Hey our buddies are gone - they're gone for a long time.'"

Operation Ceasefire was launched on the east side, primarily in the Ninth Precinct. Now it is being expanded to the Eighth Precinct on the city's west side, which saw the highest number of homicides in 2016.


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