Dubbed the “One Square Mile Initiative,” the plan would assign an officer to each of the city’s 139 square miles, where he or she would get to know the residents, business owners, church leaders, teachers and school administrators. The officer would become familiar with the abandoned homes, crime patterns and code violations.
The idea is to snuff out crime by interacting with the community and its unique issues.
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“Until we affirm Detroit as a safe city, nothing else matters,” Napoleon told nearly 100 people during the invitation-only event at a west side church. “My crime reduction plan uses proven methods I adopted when I served as chief of police and reduced crime by 34%. We know that we can reduce crime by at least 50%, and we are committed to that task.”
One Square Mile is the first phase of a revitalization plan called, “Neighborhood Growth Strategy.”
Napoleon said crime is the biggest reason people are leaving the city.
“We have been forced to accept crime in Detroit as a way of life, and instead of dealing with it, we have changed our behaviors to accommodate it,” Napoleon said. “Crime has officially become the new normal. This new normal has us pulling up to our house, praying no one broke into our hoe while we were away. The new normal is what makes us not even expect the police to show up when we call them. What we are doing is just not working. This new normal is unacceptable.”
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.