The proliferation of graffiti, dumping and scrapping is impossible to miss in Detroit.
Trucks routinely dump tires, furniture and garbage on streets and vacant lots. Graffiti covers abandoned and occupied buildings, street signs and even houses. And historic, salvageable buildings are destroyed by scrappers looking for quick cash.
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Fed up, Police Chief James Craig created a tip line and has pledged to beef up enforcement, Sgt. Michael Woody told us today.
Police already are pursuing charges against three Grosse Pointe teens who were caught on surveillance spray painting a downtown building.
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The new initiative comes just weeks after we revealed video that showed Detroit police failing to ticket or even check the ID of a man caught tagging an occupied building on Gratiot. Police conducted an internal investigation and acknowledged the incident was mishandled.
Deciding to convert resources to graffiti, scrapping and dumping isn’t an easy one for a cash-strapped police department already struggling to respond timely to violent crimes. But the vandalism and dumping are driving down property values, discouraging new investment and escalating the decades-long exodus.
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Under Chief Craig’s leadership, police are responding to crimes more quickly and solving more murders.
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.