Detroit community leaders encouraged by drop in city crime stats but 'We could do better'

Community leaders are reacting to newly released statistics from the Detroit Police Department showing a drop in serious crime.

This year to date, the DPD says homicides are down five percent, sexual assaults are down more than 11 percent, and carjackings are down nearly 28 percent.

"I am not touting success - we could do better - but I am hopeful," said Bishop Daryl Harris. "It’s so good to see initiative, cease-fire continue to go, the different shot stopper groups that are coming in as a big program, other community groups, individual groups that are beginning to come in.

"It’s almost like everyone is beginning to finally come on board and saying hey, we have to do something about this."

Harris says he has been working to reduce violence for nearly a decade. He says this year he's noticed a more cohesive community approach.

"I feel that the attitude came from reaching a place of exhaustion," he said. "You can only depend on any one institution to do so much before you realize, 'I live in this neighborhood, I live in this community.'"

Harris expects to see community groups focus on both prevention and intervention to address conflicts before they lead to gunfire and retaliations.

"You’ve got to get people into the bars, you’ve got to get people into the clubs, you’ve got to get people into the families that are hosting the house parties that turn into these types of situations," he said.

Detroit City Councilman Fred Durhal III is the co-chair of the Gun Violence Task Force. One area they are focusing on, is community violence intervention, which utilizes neighborhood community groups.

"We are fortunate to have a great police department under the direction of Chief James White," Durhal said. "It’s been great to work with him, even from our office standpoint for issues in our community.

"And then have those discussions with folks who are perpetrators of gun violence, or who are shooters and talk to them, and help direct them away from that type of life, that type of activity."

Durhal says while the latest statistics are promising, he acknowledges there is still a long way to go. He stresses one homicide, is too many.

"When you see those statistics you see that 'Oh these numbers are going down,' it’s promising, or 'We’re not seeing as many deaths as we’ve seen,'" he said. "That was still someone’s brother or sister or aunts, or mother or father. There are real people's emotions that are attached to those numbers."