Detroit to host 'peacenics' in June to curb gun violence

Detroit's deputy mayor and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan were knocking on doors in some of Detroit's most violent areas Monday afternoon, but not because anyone was in trouble.

Instead, it was to recruit attendees for the upcoming "peacenics" in Detroit in June. Peacenics are picnics that combat violence in the city.

"The events are part of the One Detroit Violence Reduction Partnership - Safe Summer Streets Initiative, a targeted strategy aimed at reducing gun violence in Detroit’s neighborhoods with
the highest incidence of violent crime – Detroit’s 8th and 9th Precincts," according to a news release from the mayor's office. "Peacenics are a collective gathering of the community and law enforcement to share in food, fellowship and fun in the name of peace."

The peacenics will host multiple vendors who will provide diverse services – such as job training, literacy initiatives, health and mental wellness screenings, utility support, educational and professional opportunities, career development programs, expungement assistance and more.

The effort is in its third year.

Detroiter Chonte Patterson has lived in the same home near the Heilmann Recreation Center since 2009. She said she had never heard of the peacenics until Detroit Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison and U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison knocked on her door on Monday.

"I'm glad that it's happening because..  it is one of the most dangerous precincts in the city," Patterson said.

The peacenics will also have free food for attendees, as well as a petting zoo.

"We're bringing the resources right to you in the neighborhood where you live, and we've chosen neighborhoods that sometimes people feel like they were forgotten about," Bettison said.

In the 8th and 9th precincts, Ison said that their summer law enforcement strategy is in effect.

"We have had some measurable success in reducing violent crime," she said. "But please don't think that we have taken our foot off the pedal as far as going after the drivers violence."

This year, the peacenics will take place from 3-7 p.m. on:

  • June 15 at the Heilmann Recreation Center. 
  • June 29 at O’Hair Park.

"We hope you will come out and bring all of your family," Ison said.