What’s a life worth in Detroit?
For a 21-year-old man this weekend, it was worth his pair of glasses. A mentally ill homeless man was shot in the back because he asked for a cigarette. And a 27-year-old father is accused of shooting five people, including a teenager, because of a petty dispute between neighboring children.
It all happened in May, when more than 145 people were shot in Detroit, at least 23 of them fatally.
Although no area of Detroit was spared, records show an outbreak of shootings on the west side, where gun violence outpaced the east side by two-to-one. About 50 people were shot, eight fatally, in the adjacent zip codes of 48227, 48228 and 48235, all of which are on the west and northwest side of the city.
The most violent zip code in May was 48227, bordered by West Chicago to the south, Puritan to the north, the Southfield Freeway to the west and Meyers Road to the east. At least 19 people were shot there, three fatally.
Victims varied in age from 11 to 73. The average age was 30. Of those killed, 85% were male.
Here’s a sampling: A 48-year-old man was shot when he refused to stop boarding up his house on the 15800 block of Steel. On Thursday, an 18-year-old woman waiting at a bus stop at Morang and Kelly was shot after she refused to get into a car with strangers. A gunman in a truck intentionally crashed into a motorcycle, sending the 25-year-old rider off the bike, and then opened fire on the victim.
On May 15, the day Mayor Bing introduced new Police Chief James Craig, 13 people were shot.
There was some good news: 84% of the shooting victims survived. The average survival rate in Detroit is about 75%, according to crime records from the past three years.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.