Detroit experiences rise in gun violence, domestic abuse during COVID-19 pandemic

Detroit saw a rise in crime, including gun violence and domestic abuse, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police Chief James Craig and the department’s board of commissioners discussed crime rates during a roundtable Thursday. A focus was on how the pandemic impacted crime and the department’s ability to fight it.

"At one point during 2020, we were ravaged by COVID," Craig said. "We had, at one point, roughly 650 members of our department that were quarantined."

The pandemic also took a toll on mental health.

"Loss of jobs, dealing with this unknown enemy," Craig said. "And then it translates into how disputes were handled. What we do know, that a good majority of our disputes were argument-based."

The pandemic also led to more domestic violence cases. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office handled more than 10,000 domestic violence cases last year.

"The abused are now being forced to spend 24/7 with their abuser. The kids are not in school, people have lost their jobs," Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

The community and spiritual leaders are discussing how they can work together to curb violence.

"I don't think there's one solid answer or one solid solution to this answer to this issue. I think it's going to take several entities working together, coming together, communicating, sitting at the table, and finding ways that we can constructively find something positive that can help make a difference," said Rev. Louis Forsythe, the senior pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.