Detroit cracks down on social distancing violations, even removing basketball hoops from parks

The city of Detroit is ramping up enforcement on social distancing as some Michiganders continue to gather -- even going so far as removing basketball hoops from local parks.

Mayor Mike Duggan said there’s a need to crack down on violating the state’s stay-at-home order and social distancing requirements.

“If you haven't seen what’s going on in New York City today, it is our future if we don’t change our behavior. They’ve lost 1,500 in New York City,” he said.

RELATED: New Michigan executive order sets fines up to $1,000 for violating social distance rules

Detroit Police Assistant Police Chief James White said the city will now be giving special attention to all parks with the help of neighborhood police officers. There will be increased staff at real-time crime centers, air support units will conduct flyover searches, and they will be utilizing video that comes in from Greenlight locations to spot any violators.

RELATED: What you can do and can't do under Michigan's stay-at-home order

Detroit police are also asking the community to report violations -- specifically, call the police, as it takes longer to respond on social media.

White said the biggest issue has been at parks, reminding people that short exercise walks are OK, but playing basketball in groups is not. The mayor said they have removed hoops at 18 parks in the city so far. 

White said they hope to not have to close parks, but they’re looking for immediate improved results on these violations. He said while they understand these are stressful times and they don’t want to take such strong action, they need to out of the best interest of the community.

“I expect the DPD to be very strong in dealing with groups that are gathering that have no legitimate business to be in public,” Duggan said.

RELATED: Social distancing: What to do and what not to do to slow the spread of COVID-19