Detroit police blanket downtown with more officers this weekend
DETROIT (WJBK) - An increased police presence downtown has already paid off Friday evening.
A man spotted carrying a gun was taken into custody by officers after he tried to run and get rid of the weapon.
The Detroit Police Department is cracking down after a string of homicides and shootings Memorial Day weekend.
"A message for anyone who comes down here for that foolishness, we're going to act very quickly," said DPD Deputy Chief Elvin Barren.
One shooting near Nikki's in Greektown was caught on camera. In all, nine people were killed in Detroit, eight of them were shot. While none of the homicides happened downtown, DPD is adding more manpower there this weekend.
"When it gets warmer, warmer climates bring more activity," Barren said. "More people are out, more people are coming to different venues, nightclubs and casinos. When that happens with the activity we want to make sure we're staffed accordingly."
Sources said there are at least 20 extra police officers patrolling the streets downtown this weekend, as the city hosts the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle.
"I have never seen so many cops down here before," said Carrie Thornton. "But it is a good thing. It is more mellow, you can just walk and enjoy the weather."
Thornton and a friend both said they felt safer with the increased police presence.
"Our officers have been instructed as far as groups gathering, we know oftentimes when groups are gathering, sometimes fights erupt and things happen," Barren said.
They also plan to keep tabs on people drinking on the street as well.
Police say Project Green Light will strengthen their efforts with officers and analysts also keeping track of what's on the ground in real time.
FOX 2 asked Barren if there is a similar game plan for the neighborhood precincts.
"We have a component for downtown as you know, thousands of people come to downtown particularly during the weekends," Barren said. "We have to be sufficiently staffed to manage those crowds. The balance comes in where we have neighborhood patrols, neighborhood concerns.
"So there's a balance to make sure we have adequate resources protecting neighborhoods and downtown Detroit."